South Korea announced on Monday, November 10, the progress towards a free trade agreement with China that aims to eventually eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods traded. From Seoul, there remain differences on some “details” before signing formal treaty. However, it could occur before the end of the year.
The news follows a bilateral meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).
The agreement would eliminate tariffs on 92% of imports from China and South Korea and on 91% of goods exported from Korea to China by the next two decades. It would exclude certain agricultural commodities (rice, beef, pork), responding to the concerns of South Korean farmers, but abolish regulatory restrictions in sectors such as services, investment, finance and culture.
China is the biggest trading partner of South Korea. Trade between the two countries in 2013 amounted to approximately EUR 183 billion. South Korean exports to China amounted to EUR 117 billion, more than a quarter of South Korean exports.