Tokyo, Japan — The Japanese government on Thursday signed a 5-year trade deal worth about $10 billion with China that will boost bilateral trade and investment by more than $600 billion.
The agreement, which also includes a pact on technology, is among the biggest in Asia and marks the biggest trade pact ever signed by Japan, which has long been a major trade partner of China, a major investor in its economy and a strategic partner for both countries.
The deal, signed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, comes just weeks after a visit by Abe to China and ahead of the start of an annual summit between the two countries in May.
It was signed on Thursday by Japan’s Trade Ministry and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The Japanese trade ministry said the deal will allow Japan to export products to China more cheaply and in more ways than before, including by using Chinese-made equipment.
Japan’s trade deficit with China has been rising sharply since a steep decline in exports to the country in 2014.
The latest figures show that Japan’s trade surplus with China reached ¥4.7 trillion ($5.7 billion) last year, more than twice the ¥3.7-trillion surplus with the U.S.
The trade deal will include a $200 billion investment pledge in infrastructure projects, including infrastructure to build a rail network and the largest coal export terminal in the world.
China has long sought to diversify its exports to Japan by diversifying its economy away from its main manufacturing base in the South and Southeast Asian nations.
China’s trade with Japan grew by 6.4 percent in 2016, with the biggest growth in the exports of automobiles and chemicals.
China’s growing economy, however, has also brought its trade deficit to an all-time high of ¥1.9 trillion ($26.4 billion) in the second quarter, with a net loss of about ¥20.6 billion ($4.5 billion).
The trade agreement is the biggest-ever for Japan, according to the Uyghur Studies Institute in China, which studies the history of Chinese-Japanese relations.