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S Korea, Japan to continue discussions on free trade agreement
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16:32, June 30, 2009

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South Korea and Japan will hold working-level talks to further negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the trade ministry said Tuesday.

The talks will be held in Tokyo on Wednesday, as a follow-up meeting after the earlier summit between South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, during which the leaders agreed on an early conclusion of the deal.

The two sides have been holding discussions since December 2003,which have been hesitated due to Japan's resistance to open the agriculture market and South Korea's hesitance to free the automobile market.

Suspended in November 2004 after six rounds of talks, the talks were resumed in June and December last year, but Japan was still in its reluctant position in opening the agriculture market, local media reported.

The South Korean market is concerned in that the deal with Japan may expand its trade deficit with the country, local Yonhap News Agency said.

South Korea has reached free trade agreements with Chile, Singapore and the European Free Trade Association, as well as a partial pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, while seeking parliamentary approval for an FTA with the United States.

South Korea has been pushing for a deal with the European Union, Canada, India, and Mexico as well.

Source: Xinhua



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