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Monday, November 17, 2014, 18:08

China, ROK to seal FTA talks by year end

By Reuters
China, ROK to seal FTA talks by year end

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye (2nd right) attends a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping (2nd left) at the Great Hall of the People on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing on November 10, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Kim Kyung-Hoon)

BEIJING - Negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will be completed by the end of the year, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of commerce, said all the negotiations will be wrapped up by the end of 2014. The agreement is expected to be signed in 2015 and take effect in the second half of 2015.

The agreement will cover 17 areas, including trade in goods and services, investment and trade rules, and topics such as e-commerce and government procurement.

Over 90 percent of goods traded between China and the ROK will be tariff-free, accounting for more than 85 percent of bilateral trade value.

The Chinese and South Korean governments said last week that they had "effectively" reached a free trade agreement that would remove or sharply reduce barriers of trade and investment between the two Asian countries.

"Our next step involves some technical issues and we will conduct some working consultations, striving to finish negotiations entirely within a year," Wang told reporters.

"Next year, in the first half of the year, we hope both sides will be able to formally sign an agreement," he said. "If all goes smoothly and in line with our hopes, then next year, in second half of the year, the China-South Korea free trade agreement potentially could be formally implemented."

The deal between China, the world's largest exporter, and South Korea, ranked seventh, faces legal and parliament reviews in the two countries.


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