Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged northeast Asian powers to cooperate more in the face of global economic headwinds, as China, Japan and South Korea agreed at a summit on Sunday to soon launch negotiations on a three-way free trade pact.
The three nations are major traders, and together accounted for 19.6 percent of global gross domestic product and 18.5 percent of exports in 2010, according to a feasibility study of that the governments issued last year on the proposed trade pact.
But they are divided by political distrust, trade barriers and diverging investment policies.
“In response to a slow economic recovery and rising trade protectionism around the world, many countries are seeking to strengthen regional economic integration to expand their market share and raise their competitiveness,” China’s Wen told reporters after talks in Beijing with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
“Northeast Asia is the…
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