Yonhap | 11 December 2016
S. Korea starts 2nd round of FTA talks with Israel
South Korea has started the second round of free trade talks to discuss ways to boost bilateral economic exchanges and investment, the trade ministry said Sunday.
The FTA talks that started in Jerusalem earlier in the day will run through Thursday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The first round of negotiations took place in Seoul in June, seven years after the two countries began discussions on starting FTA talks in 2009.
FTA negotiations between Seoul and Jerusalem had been stalled for seven years, but progress was made after South Korea’s vice trade minister visited Israel in May.
According to government data, two-way trade reached slightly over US$2 billion in 2015. Israel was South Korea’s 49th-largest trading partner. South Korea’s main export items include autos, wireless communication equipment and synthetic resins, while it imports mainly chipmaking equipment, and applied electronics products and parts.
Israel has signed free trade deals with 41 countries, including the United States. The country also has 3.5 percent of the world’s venture capital and is known for running a variety of support programs for tech startups.
South Korea has clinched a series of FTAs with major trading partners, including the U.S. and China, in recent years as part of its efforts to boost the growth of its export-reliant economy.