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Korea-Turkey FTA to boost industrial exports

With its free trade agreement with Turkey taking effect from Wednesday, Korea is expected to see solid growth in its exports of industrial goods.

The top 10 beneficiary items are television sets, automobile parts, lenses, synthetic resin, rubber, steel, blended thread, metal-processing machines and knitted goods, according to a report by the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The sales growth rate will especially be high for low-priced items such as steel, plastic, synthetic resin and auto parts, the report said.

Under the new bilateral trade pact, Turkey is to immediately abolish all tariffs on 65 percent of the items imported from Korea and gradually do so on industrial goods within seven years from effectuation.

“Considering Turkey’s geographic location, the FTA will act as an ideal foothold for Korean firms which are to advance into the Eastern European and Middle Eastern markets,” said an official of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Korea’s close cooperation with the EU in the field of customs and its free trade pacts with 16 Middle East countries will also be a useful network, the official added.

Also, in a survey conducted by KOTRA’s Istanbul office on Korean companies and buyers in Turkey, 61.5 percent of the respondents predicted that the trade pact would lower the price of Korean-manufactured goods and boost Korea’s exports in the long term.

Local Turkish importers, too, expressed hope for the new tariff-free trading system.

Betinoks Stainless Steel, a Turkish steel importer, said that it would increase its imports from Korea by 20 percent this year.

IBM Denizerlik, a company specializing in yacht imports, stressed that Korean companies should first maintain their delivery timelines and after-sales services in order to expand its leverage in the market.

As of last year, Turkey was Korea’s 11th-largest exporting partner, with a total export volume amounting of $3.9 billion, according to the Trade Ministry.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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