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Seoul, Beijing agree on basic guidelines for FTA negotiations

South Korea and China have reached an agreement on the modality or basic guidelines for their negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the Seoul government said Friday.

The agreement came at the end of three-day talks that ended Thursday in Beijing, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

"At this week's meeting, the two sides reached an agreement on the modality for the FTA, concluding the first stage negotiations for the Korea-China FTA that began in May last year," said Woo Tae-hee, Seoul's assistant trade minister and a chief negotiator for the FTA talks with China.

The first phase negotiations mainly sought to decide the level of liberalization, often the most sensitive issue in FTA negotiations.

The countries were able to reach separate agreements on basic guidelines for all areas, including products, service, investment and economic cooperation, Woo told a press briefing here.

"In the products sector, the two countries agreed to liberalize or remove import tariffs on 90 percent of all products in terms of the number of products or on 85 percent of all imports in terms of their monetary value," Woo said.

For the service and investment sectors, the countries agreed to seek a free trade agreement of a "high level," he added. (Yonhap News)

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