TOKYO — China, Japan and South Korea reaffirmed their commitment to building an open world economy and vowed to further promote free trade on May 9.
The three sides made the pledge in a joint declaration issued after a meeting between Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Tokyo. The last meeting of this kind was held two and a half years ago in Seoul.
The three sides, whose combined gross domestic production accounts for more than 20 percent of the world’s total, said in the declaration that they are aware of the important role they play in promoting world prosperity.
They said they also recognize the importance of free and open trade and investment to achieving growth, and remain committed to liberalizing their economies, fighting all forms of protectionism, and improving business environment.
They pledged to work together to strengthen the rules-based, free and open, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trading system underpinned by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The trio said they welcome discussions in the WTO on today’s challenges facing international trade, including those in the fields of e-commerce, investment facilitation, as well as micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.
They also emphasized the importance of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements that complement and strengthen the global trading system.
“We reaffirm that the Trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an important way to deepen our economic and trade cooperation and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in East Asia, and will serve the common interests of the three countries,” said the statement.
The three nations, it added, will make greater efforts to realize a comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial FTA, and will speed up negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Also, they agreed on the necessity to build an intellectual property (IP) system that values creative ideas and allows fair competition, adding that they look forward to further development of trilateral IP cooperation.
Meanwhile, they vowed to make maximum use of science and information technology to promote economic growth and social welfare and address global issues.
In addition, they stressed the importance of collaboration in the field of communications, including 5G mobile services and global roaming, to promoting mutual exchanges and cooperation.
The trio also agreed to explore “3+1” cooperation to promote sustainable development in the region and beyond by sharing their development experiences and deepening practical cooperation in various areas.
The three countries reached consensus on the significance of holding the trilateral leaders’ meeting on a regular basis, and said they are looking forward to the next meeting, which will be hosted by China.