S. Korea, China to hold talks on strengthening trade relations

By 정주원
  • Published : Apr 22, 2014 - 11:22
  • Updated : Apr 22, 2014 - 11:22

South Korea and China were set to hold trade talks Tuesday on ways to further expand their bilateral trade and cooperation, South Korea's trade ministry said.

The one-day talks, the second of their kind, were to be held in Seoul with officials from eight South Korean ministries and their Chinese counterparts, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs.

South Korea plans to address China's quarantine and customs regulations and procedures that it said are particularly unfavorable to South Korea's agricultural and food products, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

China, on the other hand, is expected to demand efforts to narrow its trade deficit with South Korea, it said.

Ministry figures show that China imported over $141.36 billion worth of products from South Korea between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20 of last year, up 26.1 percent from the same period in 2012.

South Korea's trade surplus with China jumped over 13 percent on-year to some $60.55 billion over the cited period as its imports from China only gained 2.6 percent to about $80.81 billion.

"The ministry plans to continue working with the Chinese side to resolve such issues while also working to further improve the countries' trade relationship by realizing various projects for cooperation," it said.

China is already South Korea's largest trade partner with South Korea's bilateral trade with China accounting for 21 percent of its overall trade in 2013.

The countries are seeking to further expand their trade ties by signing a bilateral free trade agreement, holding 10 rounds of FTA negotiations since May 2012.

They are also involved in talks with Japan for a three-way FTA, as well as negotiations for a regional FTA known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that currently involve 16 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, India and all 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Yonhap)