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Asia Pacific – China And South Korea Move Towards Launch Of Free Trade Area

22 January, 2015


China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said an agreement that paves the way to launch a free trade area (FTA) with South Korea will be signed this year.

According to the state-run Xinhua News Agency the agreement, which aims to “enhance bilateral market connectivity and all-round communication”, is expected to come into force in the second-half of this year.


The two countries started FTA talks in May 2012 and negotiations were “substantively concluded” last November, Xinhua said.


Both sides have already reached agreements covering sectors including services, investment, finance and communication, MOC spokesperson Yang Yihang said.


Xinhua said Yang told a forum on China-South Korea industrial cooperation in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou: “Those agreements provide fresh opportunities for bilateral enterprises and market connectivity.”


Yang said the MOC would also “continue to promote bilateral investment in advanced manufacturing, film and TV production, cultural creativity and medical care”.


A senior South Korean trade official Hong Chang-pyo told Xinhua that the FTA would boost bilateral investment in tourism, logistics and encourage increased cooperation in renewable energy, environmental protection and the automotive industry.


Xinhua said the FTA is also expected to increase economic cooperation between local governments, with some Chinese cities considering establishing complementary “South Korean industrial parks”.


According to the Korea International Trade Association (Kita) around 70 Korean companies in South Korea and China took part in a Shanghai trade fair earlier this month. Expectations among firms attending from both countries have “gained momentum” in anticipation of the FTA, Kita said.


Kita’s senior executive managing director Kim Moo-han said: “China has boundless potential as a consumer market.” 


Pinsent Masons


For further information, please contact:


Richard Laudy, Partner, Pinsent Masons

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Nick Ogden, Partner, Pinsent Masons

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