Korea Times 2014-07-06
Ecuador urges Korea to begin trade negotiations
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Thursday urged Korea to take steps toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with his country as soon as possible.
The fresh call came a year after Korea and Ecuador completed a joint feasibility study regarding the effects of such a trade pact.
During a news conference at the Lotte Hotel, Minister Patino said he again asked his Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to take follow-up measures to move toward the signing of the pact.
"Following my call last year, I addressed again our government’s hope that Korea holds a hearing with experts and relevant industries, which is a step toward the start of negotiations for the trade pact," he said through an interpreter.
"I expressed our genuine willingness to start negotiations for the pact as soon as possible. I did so because our neighboring countries already signed similar pacts with Korea and some of them have gone into effect."
Patino quoted Foreign Minister Yun as responding Korea will begin negotiations with Ecuador immediately after it finalizes free trade negotiations with other countries.
Currently, South Korea is negotiating with eight other countries on free trade pacts.
Ecuadorian Minister Patino said he was concerned about the South Korean government’s reaction. "No one knows how long it will take for South Korea to finish those negotiations. It could take a year, or five years, or longer. I think it’s about the will of the Korean government," he said.