Asia’s three largest economies in talks for a massive free trade agreement

This week, Asia’s three largest economies (China, South Korea, and Japan) will be holding high level talks to forge a new free trade agreement that will help spearhead competition and strength in the Asean theater.  In fact, this is the 10th round of talks between the three member states, and it comes with the potential for these long-standing adversaries to bypass political issues in favor of economic cooperation.

As of the end of 2015, China, Japan, and South Korea were globally ranked as 2, 3, and 11 respectively for their GDP, and a trade agreement between the three could easily place their coalition on par with the combined economic power of the European Union.

China, South Korea and Japan will hold working-level talks on the trilateral freetrade agreement (FTA) in Seoul this week, South Korea’s trade ministry said on Monday.

The 10th round of working-level negotiations for the free trade deal among the three Asian powerhouses will be held from Tuesday to Friday in Seoul, according to the Ministry of Trade,Industry and Energy.

Under the principle of a comprehensive, high-level, mutually beneficial FTA, the three countries have held nine rounds of negotiations since the talks began in November 2012.

During the trilateral summit in November in Seoul, leaders of the three Asian countries agreedto speed up negotiations on the three-way FTA.

Combined gross domestic product of China, Japan and South Korea accounts for about 20 percent of the world and some 70 percent of Asia’s total. – China Daily

Global GDP Rankings

Since 2013, free trade agreements out of both Asia and Eurasia have dominated the economic landscape, with a return to bi-lateral trade using a nation’s own currency being a high priority.  And while these current talks between China, Japan, and South Korea have been long and arduous, and in part delayed due to influences by the U.S. over their two allied economies, it should not be long before a full fledged agreement will emerge, especially since Europe broke away last year to join the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) which forecasts that financial hegemony is moving away from Washington and ever more towards the Far East.

For intents and purposes, China is the world’s largest economy since they not only have the world’s largest banking system, but they also are the global leader in production.  And this position gives them a dominant voice in how trade will take place in the future, and right now, it is in policies promoting free trade, and a return to use of each partner’s sovereign currencies.

Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for,, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.