S. Korea, China to hold second round of FTA talks in July

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Yonhap | 2 July 2018

S. Korea, China to hold second round of FTA talks in July

SEJONG, July 2 (Yonhap) — South Korea and China will hold the second round of talks to expand the scope of their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) later this month to better cover the service and investment sectors, Seoul’s trade ministry said Monday.

The two nations launched the first round of FTA follow-up negotiations in March and recently agreed to discuss details of the agreement in Beijing within July, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, without elaborating on the specific date.

The two sides implemented the FTA in December 2015 to lower tariffs on goods.

China has been reducing its focus on manufacturing to restructure its economy to be more service-oriented. China’s service industry was worth US$5.6 trillion in 2016, making it the world’s second-biggest market.

The value of services trade between the two nations has risen from $2.7 billion in 1998 to $36.7 billion in 2016, roughly quadruple the growth rate of global services trade, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, South Korea and the United States have completed the legal scrub of the revised FTA and are working on economic impact analysis and addressing technical issues, a senior ministry official said.

In March, Seoul and Washington agreed in principle to revise the six-year-old deal and have been working out finer details before the formal signing.

Under the trade regulations, the Seoul government should analyze a trade deals’ impact on the local economy, industry and employment before formally inking the pact and needs parliamentary ratification to implement it.

The U.S. also has to conduct economic impact analysis and should go through 60 days of consultations with the Congress before signing.

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