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Tue, 16 September 2014 16:24:36
South Korea to start domestic procedures for FTA talks with China
08 Feb, 2012 17:13:18
SEOUL, Feb 8 (Asia Pulse) - South Korea will begin its domestic procedures later this month for the start of formal negotiations with China on a bilateral free trade agreement, Seoul's trade ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry said a public hearing on the launch of free trade talks with China will be held on Feb. 24 to gather opinions from experts.

In early January, South Korea and China agreed to start formal negotiations for a free trade agreement with the aim to launch talks before the end of June.

Once Seoul smoothly completes its local procedures, it is possible that the two sides could announce the start of formal trade talks in the first half of this year, officials here said earlier.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner and bilateral trade between the neighboring countries is expected to reach US$300 billion by 2015.

Since 2008, South Korea and China have held a series of joint feasibility studies on a possible free trade deal and reached an agreement to exchange views on sensitive issues.

South Korea, which has major free trade pacts with the U.S. and the EU, is now seeking to expand such free trade pacts with many countries in a bid to enlarge what it calls its "economic territory" in the world.

The move came at a time when the free trade pact between South Korea and the United States is set to go into effect soon.

The free trade accord was officially signed in June 2007 and was supplemented once in late December 2010 with minor modifications that primarily pertain to the auto industry.

The free trade pact with the EU took effect in July last year. (Yonhap)

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