After a decade of discussions, China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to soon launch negotiations on a three-way free trade pact. Officials say the Japan-China-Korea FTA will be – an extremely important piece of economic cooperation. According to the official Xinhua news agency, leaders also – agreed to a three-way investment treaty – one stepping stone to the bigger and much more contentious goal of a free trade deal.
Negotiations are expected to be difficult. Standing in the way are tensions on the Korean peninsula, political distrust, trade barriers and diverging investment policies. The three nations are major traders, and together accounted for 19.6 percent of the world's economy and 18.5 percent of its exports in 2010.