South Korea and China will hold a new round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement next week, the South Korean government said Thursday, the first such meeting after the leaders of the two countries agreed to conclude the pact within this year.
The 12th round of the FTA talks will be held in Daegu, 300 kilometers south of Seoul, from Monday through Friday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at their summit in Seoul last week to make efforts for an early conclusion of their bilateral FTA, setting the goal for within this year.
The South Korea-China FTA negotiations began in May 2012.
The countries agreed late last year to liberalize their markets for about 90 percent of all products traded between them but have since hit a stumbling block, partly over which products will be excluded from the proposed market opening.
China is said to be asking for greater access for its agriculture products while South Korea is reportedly seeking greater market access for its industrial goods.
China is the world's largest importer of South Korean products with bilateral trade between the two countries accounting for nearly one quarter of South Korea's overall trade volume in 2013. (Yonhap)