S Korea, EU to officially sign free trade deal in April: S Korean gov't

16:06, February 10, 2010      

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South Korea and the European Union ( EU) have decided to officially sign in April a free trade agreement between the two and implement the deal within this year as previously planned, Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Wednesday.

The trade pact was initially expected to be sealed in the first quarter of this year, but translation works on the part of the EU and the official inauguration of its executive committee have been put off, causing a delay in official signing of the deal, Lee Hye- min, Seoul's Deputy Minister for Trade, told reporters.

The two sides will hold a meeting between representatives in March in Paris as part of preparations for the official signing, the ministry said.

South Korea and the EU initialed the deal last year after two- year-long negotiations, opening doors for a bilateral pact that Seoul said would boost the two-way trade by 20 percent, if ratified.

The domestic economy stands to benefit from a projected jump in exports, some 600,000 new jobs and the economic growth of more than three percent, the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) has said.

In 2008, the EU was South Korea's second biggest trading partner after China and its largest foreign investor.

Source: Xinhua
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