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South Korea To Seek More FTAs in 2011

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

28 December 2010

In order to play their part in furthering the country’s economic growth, it has been indicated by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance that South Korea’s international economic policies will concentrate their efforts into concluding free trade agreements (FTAs) with developing countries in the next twelve months.

With an economy that is heavily reliant on exports and imports, this reiterates what President Lee Myung-bak had said last month, in that “backed by its successful development experiences, South Korea will seek co-prosperity with developing countries through strengthening human resources and the growth potential of development experiences."

While South Korea has concluded eight FTAs (including the regional agreements with the European Union, European Free Trade Association and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), it is currently negotiating twelve more. Following the successful conclusion of the re-negotiations with the United States, it is probable that South Korea will begin negotiations with other countries in, for example, South America and Africa.

It was also indicated that the FTA negotiating rounds with Australia will be completed within the next six months, while discussions on possible agreements with both China and Japan will get the go-ahead. The President has previously made a trade deal with China a priority given its growing economic importance for South Korea, while the long-discussed FTA with Japan has been delayed by the latter’s difficulties with lower agricultural import tariffs.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | law | tariffs | agreements | Korea, South | import duty | trade

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