S.Korea, China see gaps on goods liberalization at 10th FTA talks
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-21 10:20:48 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

SEOUL, March 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and China saw disparities on how to liberalize the goods sector at the 10th round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, Seoul's Trade Ministry said Friday.

Delegations from both sides held the 10th talks on the bilateral free trade deal in Ilsan, northwest of capital Seoul, for five days through Friday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Chinese delegation was headed by Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of China's Ministry of Commerce, while the South Korean side was led by assistant Commerce Minister Woo Tae-Hee.

The delegations discussed goods liberalization, services, investment, rules and other cooperative areas during their talks.

For goods, both sides called for liberalization in areas of respective interest, but the claims of the two sides were in a direct opposition to each other, the ministry said.

Little progress was made in the goods sector as South Korea demanded an early removal of tariffs on products in the manufacturing industry. China called for the widening of liberalization in the farm goods sector, according to the ministry.

Technical discussions were made on trade remedy, rules of origin, customs, sanitary and phytosanitory (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT).

Talks continued about written agreement on services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition, general rules, environment, e-commerce and economic cooperation.

The two sides agreed to hold the 11th round of negotiations in China, with detailed schedules and venues left to be discussed later.

South Korea and China completed last September the first stage talks for the bilateral free trade pact with a total of seven rounds of negotiations.

Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 percent of all products during the first-stage talks, but opened the door for raising the threshold during the second-phase negotiations.

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 has grown almost 50 times and reached 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.

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