SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and China advanced their free trade deal negotiations further at the ninth round of such talks held in the China's northwestern city of Xi'an, the South Korean trade ministry said Friday.
The trade delegation from South Korea visited Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, to attend the ninth round of free trade agreement (FTA) talks with their Chinese counterparts for five days through Friday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Both sides made progress in their bilateral FTA negotiations, discussing the liberalization of goods, the opening of service and investment sectors, and standard and cooperation areas.
In the goods sector, all the items to be liberalized, including ultra-sensitive goods, were offered and requested by each other, opening the negotiations on the agreement framework.
The ministry said that both sides will continue discussing related issues to confirm the portion of general items and sensitive goods as well as ultra-sensitive items.
The delegations from the two countries also talked about rule of origin, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary and technical barriers to trade, while discussing issues related to service, investment, intellectual property rights, competition, environment, e-commerce and economic cooperation.
They agreed to hold the 10th round of talks in South Korea, with detailed schedules set to be discussed later.
The two neighbors completed the first-stage negotiations in September last year with a total of seven rounds of talks, agreeing on basic guidelines for the Sino-South Korean FTA.
In the previous talks, Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 percent of all products in terms of the number of items, and 85 percent of imports in terms of their monetary value.
China is South Korea's No. 1 trading partner, with Seoul's exports to Beijing accounting for a quarter of the total in 2012. Since the two neighbors established diplomatic ties in 1992, their annual trade grew almost 50 times and reached 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.