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Korea, China to Hold 4th Round of FTA Talks Next Week
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South Korea and China will hold their fourth round of free trade talks next week with focus being placed on drawing up negotiation guidelines for each sector, Seoul's trade ministry said Thursday.

During the three-day meeting that runs in the southeast city of Gyeongju, South Korea, from Tuesday, both sides will discuss a variety of issues such as the classification of so-called sensitive products, it said.

At the latest round of free trade talks, the two countries made progress in their free trade talks with both countries agreeing on removing tariffs on products within 10 years after the implementation of their free trade accord.

But the two countries will hold more talks later over what products are classified as sensitive items, the ministry said earlier.

In early May, the two countries announced the launch of formal free trade negotiations, expecting the talks to take two years.

The neighboring countries earlier agreed that the talks on a free trade deal will proceed in two phases, with the handling of critical items and the scope of the trade agreement to be primarily discussed first.

Agriculture and fisheries are considered to be the most sensitive sectors for South Korea, while China categorizes its manufacturing industries, which include the automobile, machinery and oil sectors, as sensitive.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade expected to reach US$300 billion by 2015.

Since 2008, South Korea and China have held a series of joint feasibility studies on a possible free trade deal and exchanged views on sensitive issues.

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Source: Yonhap News (Oct. 25, 2012)

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