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China, South Korea, Japan meet over free trade, future partnerships

Updated: Dec 25,2019 07:22 AM    CGTN

China hails investment from Japanese and South Korean entrepreneurs and will treat them equally with identical protection and opportunities, said Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of a trilateral summit held on Dec 24.

Premier Li made the statement while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the 7th China-Japan-ROK Business Summit in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in attendance.

Premier Li said all the businesses registered in China will be taken as homegrown enterprises and encouraged Japanese and South Korean entrepreneurs to grasp the opportunity by occupying a spot in the country's resilient economy.

Citing dim economic projections for the next year by numerous international organizations, Premier Li stressed the three sides should work in tandem with each other to uphold free trade and expedite the trilateral free trade agreement, thereby further promoting trade and investment liberalization and achieving new breakthroughs in trilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Zone will inject new vitality into the three countries' joint efforts to deal with the downward risks on the global economy, achieve stable economic growth, and accelerate the process of regional economic integration, said the Premier.

"China needs higher level of opening-up. We will not adhere to protectionism despite trade deficits with Japan and South Korea, but open wider to the outside world. We will ensure enterprises under all forms of ownership be treated on an equal footing, which demonstrates our determination for trade liberalization," Premier Li said.

South Korean President Moon urged the three countries to increase free trade, get rid of trade barriers and bolster business activities to achieve win-win cooperation. "We should make concerted efforts for cultivating new industries as a response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas including manufacturing and artificial intelligence," said Moon.

It is indispensable for China, Japan and South Korea to lay down regulations and reinforce collaboration in a bid to provide companies with a fair and transparent business environment. The three sides need to enhance a rules-based multilateral trading system which puts the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its heart and press ahead with a fair competitive landscape, according to Abe.

"The government is willing to heed the suggestions from the economic circle and work hard for the development of China-Japan-ROK relations," said Japanese PM Abe.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-Japan-ROK cooperation. The three countries account for 24 percent of the world economy, with trilateral trade exceeding $720 billion and visits among the three countries totaling over 31 million last year.