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S Korea, US FTA talks end, no progress

S.Korea, U.S. FTA talks end, no progress

JEJU, South Korea, Oct. 27 2006 (UPI) — South Korea and the United States ended five-day talks on a free trade deal Friday with little headway.

Throughout the talks held in South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju, delegates from the two sides haggled over thorny trade issues, such as textiles and cars, but failed to produce a breakthrough.

The U.S. side proposed eliminating tariffs over 10 years for textile imports, while South Korea refused to revise its tax system on foreign cars, which is said to limit sales.

South Koreans offered to cut or eliminate tariffs on 240 agricultural products, excluding rice, beef and oranges, but the U.S. side rejected the proposition, and insisted on no exceptions.

The two countries will hold another round of talks in December in the United States, which will be followed by a sixth round in January.

The two sides, which launched free-trade talks in Washington in early June, hope to wrap up the negotiations by the end of next March, three months before U.S. President George W. Bush’s power to sign trade deals without their being subject to congressional amendment expires on July 1, 2007.

 source: UPI