Yonhap News - 14 January 2020
Seoul, Moscow to hold 3rd round of FTA talks on service sector
By Kang Yoon-seung
South Korea said Tuesday it plans to hold the third round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Russia in the service and investment segments this week, as the country endeavors to diversify its trade portfolio amid protectionism.
The two will hold the meeting in Moscow from Wednesday to Friday with a goal to strike the deal this year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Seoul and Moscow first kicked off their negotiations in June last year to lower barriers for the service and investment segments. The previous meeting was held in Seoul in October.
During the upcoming gathering, the two countries especially plan to flesh out their written agreement.
The FTA talks with Russia are in line with Seoul’s New Northern Policy that centers on boosting its economic and diplomatic ties with countries in Eurasia.
South Korea has been making efforts to expand trade ties with emerging economies to ease its heavy dependency on major economic powerhouses, such as the United States and China, and cope with growing global uncertainties.
The FTA talks with Russia, meanwhile, are anticipated to lend a hand to South Korea’s efforts to launch separate free trade talks with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which has Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as its members, the ministry said.
South Korea’s overall outbound shipments plunged 10.3 percent on-year in 2019, with exports dipping for the 13th consecutive month in December.