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Talks for FTA with EU begin today

07
May '07
First round of talks between EU and South Korea for the proposed Free Trade agreement (FTA) is set to commence today.

In a joint press conference, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Minister of State Kim Hyun-Chong expressed keen interest for speedy conclusion of this FTA and agreed to work together to reach a mutual ground.

Hyun-Chong said that this FTA will help improve trade deficit with Japan. This pact is expected to raise the bilateral trade to US $80 billion.

The EU ranked as South Korea's second-largest trading partner following China last year at $78.56 billion.

EU remains the biggest foreign investor in South Korea, investing over $4.9 billion in 2006 alone.

South Korea is hoping to boost exports of electronic goods and textiles to the EU.

Both parties said that they are expecting to wrap up the deal within a year.

South Korea finalized FTA with the US last month and has also inked FTAs with Chile and Singapore. It is reportedly close to a pact with Canada and in June is set to begin a second feasibility study with China on a potential deal.


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