The Korea Herald


No breakthrough at Korea-China trade talks

By Kim Yon-se

Published : Jan. 10, 2014 - 20:13

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The latest round of South Korea-China free trade agreement talks this week were productive but no significant breakthrough was made, officials here said Friday.

The latest round marked the beginning of discussions on the list of products subject to market opening, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

“At the latest round of talks, the two sides began their full-fledged negotiations as they exchanged their offers and requests for the opening of their markets to all subject products, including the group of highly sensitive products,” it said in a press release.

The sides also continued their discussions on other issues, including the opening of service and investment markets, and protection of intellectual property rights and the environment, it added.

The countries have already agreed to remove their import tariffs on 90 percent of products traded between them. The talks, the ninth of their kind, were held from Monday in Xian, the capital of China’s central Shaanxi Province.

Woo Tae-hee, South Korea’s assistant trade minister, said Seoul’s request included the early removal of import duties on three major groups of products.

They include ones dominated by South Korean manufacturers, such as display panels and machinery, and ones that have a complementary market structure with Chinese competitors or products. They also include products that have growing market potential in China, such as home appliances, medical equipment, medicine and cosmetics, Woo said.

The ministry official refused to reveal China’s proposals, citing such a request from China.

Woo said the most significant progress came from an agreement to devise a joint framework agreement, which he said may create much greater benefits than opening the market for products by fundamentally changing the way China does business. (Yonhap News)