Sino-Japanese economic ties on the mend

Updated 2017-11-23 14:32:12 Global Times

Two countries have strong complementarity, experts say

The economic relations between China and Japan are getting warmer as a result of Japan's pursuit of overseas partnerships to boost its struggling economy and also because of the strong complementarity between the two economies, experts told the Global Times on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Chinese government officials met with a Japanese business delegation of more than 250 representatives to discuss the two countries' cooperation, the Japan-based Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during the event that both sides could take each other's development as an opportunity, and promote growth through innovation and healthy competition.

Li noted that China and Japan should stick to economic globalization, and accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, according to a statement published on China's government website gov.cn on Tuesday.

The Nikkei Asian Review also cited Shoji Muneoka, chairman of the Japan-China Economic Association, as saying on Tuesday that Japan and China's role in promoting free trade has become increasingly important, and that business cooperation between the two countries should move forward.

Economic ties improving

Zhao Jianglin, a research fellow at the National Institute for Global Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Sino-Japanese economic relations suffered for a long time because of political frictions, but recently there have been signs of a raprochement.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs on November 8, China's trade with Japan rose by 10.1 percent year-on-year to 5 billion in the first 10 months this year.

Some Japanese companies, such as those in the automobile sector, also achieved good business performance in China in the first half of this year, media reports said.

According to Zhao, Japan has lacked momentum for its economic growth recently, forcing it to look for partnerships in overseas countries. "China, with its large market, cannot slip out of the attention of Japan," she said, adding that the US' recent signing of economic deals with China has also set an example for Japan.

Zhao also noted that Japan and China's economies have strong complementarity.

"Japan has many technologies that China needs. And China's relatively low labor costs can help support Japan's manufacturing industries," she told the Global Times.

Japan has been protective about its technologies in the past, but it has gradually realized that technical exports are also competitive, Zhao said.

"If China does not import technologies from Japan, it can import them from other countries, so in the final analysis it would be Japan's loss if they neglect cooperation with China," Zhao noted.

Good prospects

China can cooperate with Japan in sectors like agriculture, finance and manufacturing. The two countries can also make joint investments in countries and regions like India, according to Zhao .

"I believe the prospects for the two countries' cooperation will be promising," she noted.

However, Lü Yaodong, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "mutual political trust" still has not been properly established between the two countries.

"The Japanese delegation's visit and China's welcoming attitude is a sign that China wants to use economic cooperation to push the two countries' diplomatic relations onto the right track, but it is hard to say whether this sincere attitude can get a response from the Japanese government," he noted, adding that without sound diplomatic relations, economic cooperation is vulnerable.

But Zhao noted that in the future, economic relations will be one of the deciding factors in how Sino-Japanese relations will evolve.

Zhao also said that there will be a change in the current imbalance in Sino-Japanese economic relations - in which Japanese investment in China outweighs Chinese investment in Japan - and the situation will become more balanced.

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