Hyosung chairman wants Korea-Japan FTA
Hyosung Chairman S.R. Cho said Wednesday that the successful ratification of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and Japan is a critical step to form a unified mega market in Asia, equivalent to the European Union.
“The EU has become the center of the global economy after successfully unifying their market,” Cho said during an opening speech for the 44th Korea Japan Business Conference in Osaka, Japan. “I hope Asia will unify its market and form an economic zone to maximize mutual growth.”
But he emphasized that Korea and Japan should first ratify an FTA, rather than one with China and it should be at a high level so that it can serve as a standard for the unified Asian market.
His remark came amid anticipation for an FTA between Korea, China and Japan as the leaders of the three countries met and agreed at a summit in Beijing on Sunday to launch negotiations for a three-way trade pact this year.
Cho, who serves as chairman of the Korea-Japan Economic Association, who hosted the conference, also suggested that Seoul and Tokyo should take a more active stance on the issue and narrow their differences with a grander vision for the future of Asia.
The suggestion comes as the Japanese government has taken a reluctant stance toward a bilateral deal, largely due to issues of opening its agricultural market and the non-tariff barrier. Korea also thinks the FTA would bring little benefit to it.
Over 300 businessmen from both countries are attending the two-day conference, which kicked off Wednesday. Some of the distinguished guests from Korea include Han Duck-soo, chief of the Korea International Trade Association, Kang Shin-ho, chairman of Dong-A Pharmaceutical and Park Sam-koo, chairman of Kumho Asiana.