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Korea, US fail to complete second FTA talks

14 July 2006

Korea, U.S. fail to complete second FTA talks

By Yoo Soh-jung

The second round of formal free trade talks between Korea and the United States ended earlier than scheduled today, suggesting that the talks may have reached an impasse.

Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement that the parties did not meet to cover four of the categories originally planned for negotiations today.

It said the four categories were trade remedies, services, goods trade and the environment.

The halt to the talks come after Seoul and Washington failed to make any progress in the area of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment on Tuesday, resulting in a full suspension of talks in the area.

The U.S. delegation had mentioned that failure to form an agreement on pharmaceuticals was increasing the difficulty of making progress in the second round of their formal trade talks, the ministry statement highlighted.

It said that U.S. negotiators did not participate in the sessions for trade remedies and services scheduled for Thursday, while Korean negotiators canceled the goods trade and environment sessions planned for today, the final day of talks.

Both parties began their second round of FTA talks on Monday, in what was expected to mark the start of a challenging negotiation process.

Seoul’s chief negotiator Kim Jong-hoon, during a news briefing last Friday, said that he expected no breakthrough during the five-day talks, as negotiations were still at an early stage with many complicated issues to sort out.

Both parties were aiming during the second round to reach an agreement on the range of tariff reductions and a time frame for phasing them out for each sector and product.

 Fuente: Korea Herald