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FTA with China to Put Korea's Free Trade Territory on Top

According to Yonhap News,

(SEJONG = Yonhap News) South Korea's envisioned free trade agreement (FTA) with China could expand the country's free trade territory to the world's largest, covering 74 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), officials said Wednesday.

Currently, the combined global GDP of countries with which South Korea has a bilateral or multilateral FTA stands at 57.7 percent, the world's third largest after those of Chile and Mexico.

The figure is 3.4 times higher than Japan's 17 percent, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

South Korea's so-called FTA territory is soon expected to expand as the country recently concluded negotiations for a bilateral FTA with Australia, whose annual GDP stands at over US$1.58 trillion.

South Korea and Australia plan to initial their trade agreement early next year, the ministry said.

Also, South Korea is said to be near an agreement in separate FTA negotiations with Canada, which has a total GDP of over $1.8 trillion.

The largest expansion for South Korea's FTA territory will come from an agreement with China, the world's second largest economy with an annual GDP of some $7.99 trillion.

Seoul and Beijing have held eight rounds of FTA negotiations since they were launched last year with the latest round held in November.

South Korea already has a bilateral FTA with the United States, the world's largest economy.

In addition to bilateral FTAs, the country is seeking to join regional and multilateral trade pacts, which will further enlarge its economic and trade territories.

South Korea and China are moving to sign a trilateral FTA with Japan while the three countries are also taking part in negotiations for a regional FTA, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, that also involves Australia, New Zealand and all 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Seoul has also expressed an interest in joining the ongoing negotiations for a U.S.-led regional free trade pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Copyrights Yonhap News. All Rights Reserved.

Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (Dec. 11, 2013)

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