AFX News Limited | 05.18. 2006
EU, South Korea eye preliminary FTA talks
SEOUL (AFX) - South Korea and the European Union have agreed to hold preliminary talks that could lead to the establishment of a free trade agreement (FTA), the trade ministry here said.
Talks could start as early as next month according to the Financial Times but South Korean and EU trade officials said there was no fixed date.
’We have no specific date or month for the talks to start,’ said trade ministry spokesman Han Dong-Man.
The head of the trade section of the European Commission’s Seoul office said that June was ’optimistic’ but confirmed that the EU was eyeing an eventual trade deal with South Korea.
’The whole idea is that we want to foster the realtionship, particularly investment,’ said trade chief Raffaele Quarto.
The EU is South Korea’s top foreign investor accounting for a third of all foreign direct investment.
The United States is to open formal negotiations next month on a FTA with South Korea.