Business / Economy

ROK, China to hold new round of FTA talks

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-02 19:31

SEOUL -- South Korea and China will hold a new round of talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) next week, the South Korean government said Thursday.

The ninth round of the negotiations will be held in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi province, from Monday to Friday, according to the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The new round of talks will continue focusing on the level of liberalization for goods, further discussing the list of products involved in the liberalization, the ministry said.

It added that separate working group talks will also be held with the topic of opening service and investment markets.

South Korea and China concluded the eighth round of talks of this kind, or the first for the second-stage negotiations, in November, in which the two sides began discussions for a rough draft of the trade agreement and on the level of liberalization for products, based on the agreed modality.

The two neighbors completed the first-stage negotiations in early September with a total of seven rounds of talks, agreeing on basic guidelines for the Sino-South Korean FTA.

In the previous round of talks, Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 percent of all products in terms of the number of items, and 85 percent of imports in terms of their monetary value.

China is South Korea's No 1 trading partner, with Seoul's exports to Beijing accounting for a quarter of the total in 2012. Since the two neighbors established diplomatic ties in 1992, their annual trade has grown almost 50 times and reached $256 billion in 2012.

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