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S.Korea, China narrow differences in 6th FTA talks


17:13, July 04, 2013

SEOUL, July 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korean and China narrowed differences in many areas at the sixth round of talks for the free trade agreement (FTA), the South Korean trade ministry said Thursday. "In the goods area, both sides came closer to agreement in most modalities (basic guidelines), including the level of liberalization," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said in a statement.

The two sides also narrowed different views over services, investment, rules of origins, customs clearance, trade remedy and intellectual property rights, the ministry said, noting that those cited areas reached or neared to an agreement at the modality draft.

South Korea and China held the sixth round of FTA talks for three days through Thursday at South Korea's largest port city of Busan. The 7th round will be held in China, the ministry said, adding that detailed schedules will be unveiled after further consultations with China.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick said Monday that the first-stage talks for Sino-South Korea FTA could be finalized in September when the next round of negotiation is estimated to be held.

His comments came after Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed at the summit to push for the completion of the bilateral FTA. The two leaders reconfirmed the goal of reaching a high-level and comprehensive free trade pact. To push for the comprehensive deal, both sides agreed to widen areas subject to negotiations to competition, transparency, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT) , e-commerce, environment and economic cooperation.

The formal negotiations for Sino-South Korea FTA were launched in May 2010. Seoul and Beijing are also seeking a trilateral free trade deal, including Japan.

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