S. Korea, China begin new round of FTA negotiations

By 정주원
  • Published : Mar 17, 2014 - 10:11
  • Updated : Mar 17, 2014 - 10:11

South Korea and China launched a fresh round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement Monday with both sides expected to work for much needed progress.

Seoul earlier said the two countries will continue to hold discussions on all related issues, including the level of market liberalization for products, services and investment, and ways to synchronize their domestic regulations and promote cooperation.

This week's meeting, the 10th of its kind since the FTA negotiations were launched in May 2012, will be held in Ilsan, just north of Seoul. It will end Friday.

A major breakthrough came in the seventh round of negotiations held in September, when the two countries agreed on a set of basic guidelines, or modality, for their negotiations that included the level of overall market opening.

Under the agreement, the countries will remove their import duties on 90 percent of all products traded between them.

The FTA negotiations, however, have since hit a stumbling block as they failed to come up with a list of items to be liberalized or protected under the proposed FTA.

South Korea is currently engaged in negotiations for eight free trade deals, including a three-way FTA that includes China and Japan.

Seoul has said it is giving top priority to the Korea-China FTA, noting a free trade pact with the world's second-largest economy may affect all other FTA negotiations the country is engaged in. (Yonhap)