Business / Economy

South Korea apparel to add a touch of elegance

By Zheng Xin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-23 09:35

Trendy apparel, comfy footwear and stylish accessories from South Korea are expected to gain access to China's huge markets as a bilateral free trade agreement took effect on Sunday.

Beijing will eliminate tariffs on 91 percent of Korean products over the next 20 years. Tariffs on garments, footwear and headwear will decrease from 15 percent to zero in 10 to 20 years.

Seoul will also reduce tariffs on 92 percent of Chinese goods. The FTA is expected to help both countries boost exports of their goods and services.

South Korean garment makers said the clothing trade between China and South Korea is set for a quantum leap.

Guo Rongming, manager, China, EXR, a South Korean clothing brand, said removal of tariffs would help EXR Korea Co Ltd export more to China.

The FTA is expected to sound a death knell for rampant counterfeits of South Korean products in the Chinese market, he said.

China is South Korea's biggest trading partner as well as its biggest export market. Bilateral trade was worth $235.4 billion in 2014, according to customs data.

South Korea is one of the major foreign investors in China. It invested $2.25 billion from January to September this year.

Guo said: "Chinese travelers no longer need to embarrass themselves with excess baggage while returning from South Korea. For a South Korea-based clothing brand, we are very glad to see effective measures like the FTA being taken to support industries. EXR will definitely innovate more in design to come up with stylish products for Chinese consumers."

EXR entered the Chinese market in 2004. It now has 70 stores in China and more will open next year.

Experts are optimistic about the outlook for the FTA. "There is no doubt that the removal of tariffs is beneficial to South Korean businesses as they can export more to China," said Lin Guijun, vice-president of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

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