S. Korea, China make progress in 11th FTA talks

Date : 2014-06-03  | From : Xinhua

South Korea and China made a progress in the 11th round of negotiations for the free trade agreement ( FTA) held in China last week, Seoul's trade ministry said Monday.

The 11th round was held for five days to May 30 in Meishan city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

South Korean delegation was headed by assistant Commerce Minister Woo Tae-hee and the Chinese side was led by Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of China's Ministry of Commerce.

The new round discussed all areas such as goods liberalization, service, investment, regulations and cooperation.

During the talks, the two sides exchanged the second offer for goods liberalization after trading the first one in December 2013. Seoul and Beijing also exchanged the second request for goods liberalization, which stipulated items of great interest.

The South Korean trade ministry said that much headway was made in negotiations about written agreements for goods and trade remedy, noting in-depth negotiations were made about how to liberalize the service and investment sectors.

For the service sector, the two sides exchanged the first request for liberalization to express respective areas of interest.

Much progress was also made in negotiations about written agreements for the regulations and cooperation, the ministry said, noting agreements were almost reached on competition and e- commerce.

The two sides will hold the next round of talks next month in South Korea, with detailed schedules and venue to be discussed later.

South Korea and China completed the first stage of negotiations in September last year for the bilateral free trade pact, with a total of seven rounds of negotiations. The talks began in May 2012.

Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 percent of all products during the first-stage talks, but they opened the door for raising the threshold during the second-phase negotiations.

China is South Korea's No.1 trading partner, with Seoul's exports to Beijing accounting for a quarter of the total in 2012. Since the two neighbors established diplomatic ties in 1992, their annual trade has grown almost 50 times, reaching 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.