China, Japan and S Korea speed up free trade pact

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Officials from China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to boost trade in Asia by speeding up discussions on a possible free-trade deal. This trilateral pact is coming ahead of time, which was expected to be sealed in only by the year 2012. The three Asian countries jointly account for roughly a fifth of the world?s trade.

The studies (leading to the agreement) would pave way for free-trade negotiations which will be contentious. The commitment for free talks came as Beijing and Seoul promised to help Japan?s post earthquake reconstruction efforts.

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak met at a regular trilateral summit in Tokyo over the weekend, which led to this new development.

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