Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to clinch large-scale free trade agreements with a range of countries to help spur economic growth, negotiations have stalled over the extent of trade liberalization those countries expect.
Abe hopes to leverage anticipated progress in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade bloc, where a deal seems possible this spring, to help resolve such deadlocks.
Large-scale FTA negotiations accelerated in 2013, when Japan joined the TPP talks. The group of 12 countries accounts for some 40 percent of global nominal gross domestic product.
Around the time it joined the TPP talks, Japan also entered Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations with 15 other Asia-Pacific countries, which include China, South Korea and India. Talks on a planned trilateral Japan-China-South Korea free trade agreement also kicked off the same year.
Japan initially aimed for deals in 2015 on the RCEP and the Japan-China-South Korea talks, but both are now stalled.
via Japan Times
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