S Korea, EFTA to hold meeting on free trade pact

20:09, January 19, 2010      

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South Korea and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will hold the second meeting of the joint committee to review the South Korea-EFTA free trade pact, S. Korea 's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The meeting will be hosted in Geneva, Switzerland from Jan. 20 to 21, following the first meeting of a kind between the two sides held in May of 2008, according to a press release by the foreign ministry.

For the upcoming meeting, South Korea will send a ten-member delegate headed by Kim Hae-yong, chief of the ministry's FTA negotiations bureau, while the EFTA's side will be represented by 18 officials, including Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Switzerland's FTA ambassador, the foreign ministry said.

The meeting will deal with a review on how the S. Korea-EFTA free trade pact has been implemented, while the two sides will exchange views on how to develop the deal in the future, according to the ministry.

Sealing a free trade deal with The EFTA on Dec. 15, 2005, South Korea has seen a hike in both exports and imports, with outbound shipments hitting 2.0 billion U.S. dollars and inbound shipments 4. 5 billion U.S. dollars in 2009.

The EFTA refers to an association made among a group of European countries, such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Currently, South Korea has free trade agreements with Chile, Singapore and the European Free Trade Association, as well as a similar pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Recently reaching a free trade deal with the European Union, the country also wrapped up its free trade talks with India, settling the so-called comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) in August.

With respect to the free trade deal with the United States, signed in June 2007, both countries are waiting for legislative approval.

South Korea is also seeking similar trade deals with Australia, Canada and Mexico.

Source: Xinhua
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