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S. Korea’s biz community sets up consultative group on China FTA

Yonhap News Agency | October 6, 2014

S. Korea’s biz community sets up consultative group on China FTA

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s business community has set up a consultative group aimed at reflecting their interests in ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) talks with China, the country’s international traders’ organization said Monday.

According to Korea International Trade Association (KITA), the group will hold regular talks with government policymakers to not only push for more openness in China’s manufacturing and service sectors, but to get timely feedback on what headway is being made. The first working level meeting is set for Tuesday.

The group is made up of 60 large and small and medium enterprises that represent various industrial areas that trade with China. It will have subcommittees for manufactured goods, services and investment, and intellectual property rights protection.

"The close working relationship can improve transparency and trust in the FTA talks and allow them to move away from discussions centered on protecting ’sensitive’ goods such as agriculture and fisheries areas," the association said.

It said that the business group will not only give negotiators a clear picture of what companies want out of the free trade accord, but can assist in the ratification of the FTA through parliament once it is signed.

The move comes after Seoul and Beijing agreed to conclude ongoing negotiations, which began in May 2012, by the end of the year.

The target was set at the summit meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in July.

China is South Korea’s No. 1 export market with two-way trade reaching around US$270 billion last year.

Seoul wants greater access to China’s automobile, machinery and oil sectors that promise considerable growth in the future.

 source: Yonhap