Yonhap News Agency - 03 August 2020
S. Korea, China seek to boost trade amid pandemic
South Korea and China on Monday held a meeting to update and expand the scope of their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which took effect around five years ago, and vowed to make joint efforts to overcome economic jitters sparked by the new coronavirus pandemic.
The two countries held a virtual meeting to discuss ways to better utilize their FTA and boost bilateral trade amid the new coronavirus pandemic, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Seoul and Beijing implemented the deal in December 2015. On the back of the FTA, trade between the two advanced 18.2 percent from 2015 to 2018.
During the meeting, South Korea and China agreed to establish a new committee centering on the online commerce industry to overcome disruptions in business activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seoul requested that China protect the intellectual rights of its exporters.
In November 2019, China implemented a new law in which its authorities can ban registrations of trademarks when the applicants are deemed to have malicious intent of exploiting foreign firms.
The two also agreed to speed up negotiations to lift more barriers in the service and investment segments.
South Korea and China vowed to boost their trade amid the new coronavirus pandemic and agreed to keep the "fast-track" entry system to minimize travel restrictions for business officials.
Seoul plans to simplify application procedures for officials of small- and medium-sized companies.
Trade with China reached US$243.4 billion in 2019, slightly down from $268.6 billion posted the previous year amid global economic uncertainties, the ministry data showed.
Outbound shipments to China increased for the second consecutive month by rising 2.5 percent on-year in July. The growth was led by petrochemical products and steel goods as Chinese factories gradually resumed their operations.