A free-trade agreement between China and Japan will boost relations and benefit both countries, a former trade official said.
"Now is a good time for China and Japan to discuss starting FTA negotiations," said Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce and secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, during the Beijing-Tokyo Forum which ended on Tuesday in Tokyo.
"Rapidly growing trade and the surge of Japanese investment into China have established conditions for both countries to start FTA talks.'' Wei also highlighted the service sector as an area that will benefit from greater cooperation.
Trade between China and Japan hit a record $344.9 billion in 2011, up 14.3 percent from the previous year, and is expected to reach $350 billion in 2012, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.
Japanese investment in China surged by 49.6 percent year-on-year in 2011 to $6.3 billion, and the first five months of 2012 saw Japanese investment of $3.22 billion, up 16.6 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"Though Japanese investment in China has increased at a rapid pace, Chinese investment in Japan often faced restrictions. The FTA, once in place, will greatly improve Chinese investment," Wei, a guest economist at China Daily, said.
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