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South Korea and Indonesia will hold their second round of free trade talks next
week as part of an effort to further boost bilateral trade volume, Seoul's trade
ministry said Wednesday.
During the two-day meeting that will start Monday in Jakarta, negotiators from both sides will discuss guidelines for negotiations and other details, according to the ministry.
In March, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the launch of talks concerning a so-called comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), which is equivalent to a free trade agreement.
In 2011, South Korea and Indonesia held three rounds of preliminary talks under an agreement to conduct a joint study into the possibility of a bilateral free trade pact.
Indonesia is South Korea's eighth-largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching US$30.7 billion last year. South Korea's shipments to Indonesia increased 52.4 percent on-year to $13.56 billion in 2011, with imports from Southeast Asian countries gaining 23.1 percent to $17.21 billion, according to government data.
South Korea has a free trade agreement (FTA) with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that includes Indonesia. The country has also been seeking bilateral pacts with some ASEAN members to further boost trade within the region.
Indonesia is the most populous ASEAN member and has
rich natural resources.
South Korea, a resource-scarce nation that relies mainly on exports for economic growth, has been aggressively seeking free trade accords with foreign countries to expand what Lee calls the country's "economic territory."
As the fourth-largest Asian economy, South Korea has eight FTAs already in effect, including those with the United States, the European Union and India, and is in negotiations with seven other nations, including Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.