According to local sources, leaders of South Korea and China resolved the Korea-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after approximately two-and- half years at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing on Monday.
According to BBC, China is South Korea’s prime trading partner and their bilateral trade matured to around $228.9bn in 2013.
Discussions for the FTA commenced in May 2012 and detained 14 rounds of negotiations while then. Discussions have been overdue due to disagreements on tariff cuts. Whereas South Korea wanted a broader series of reductions on industrial products, China had requested cuts on agricultural and fisheries products.
Conclusively, the two sides settled on a total of 22 chapters underlining tariff cuts and removal of investment impediments in various economic sectors, comprising services, finance and communications. Nonetheless, both the sides have ignored rice from the FTA mentioning it as an key agricultural product, which needs safeguard.
South Korea has lately declared its purpose to liberalize rice imports from January 1, 2015.The government’s verdict to impose a tariff of around 513% on rice imports over and above its minimum market access (MMA) quota under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules is yet to be confirmed by the WTO.
South Korea also has similar FTAs with the U.S. and the European Union (EU).