ASEAN, East Asian countries to upgrade free trade agreements hinh anh 1Illustrative (Source: VNA)

The free trade agreements (FTAs) between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asian countries will get an upgrade by the end of this year in order to boost services and investment between the two sides, said Malaysian Minister of Trade Mustapa Mohamad.

According to Minister Mustapa Mohamad, ministers of trade from ten ASEAN countries on August 23 had separated dialogues and a meeting with three East Asian countries, namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK), to discuss about the upgrading of the FTAs to make them more comprehensive.

According to Mustapa Mohammad, the two sides will attempt to reach an agreement ahead of the regional summit, which will take place in November.

ASEAN and Japan signed the FTA in 2008 but the FTA only included goods trade. Service and investment sectors are still under talks.

The FTA between ASEAN and the RoK signed in 2006 and it only included goods trade.

The FTA between China and ASEAN, despite including goods, services and investment, is still under the process of adjustment for more comprehension. Since the China-ASEAN FTA signed in 2010, China has become the ASEAN’s largest trade partner while the ASEAN has been China’s third trade partner.

The FTAs will help lift the trade volume between ASEAN and China, Japan and the RoK to 1,000 billion USD, 200 billion USD and 200 billion USD, respectively, by 2020.

Besides East Asian countries, ASEAN signed FTAs with Australia, New Zealand and are in talks with India for agreements relating to trade, service and investment.

ASEAN has ten countries who are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. -VNA