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China, South Korea Wrap First-Stage FTA Talks

China and South Korea wrapped up first-stage talks about a free trade deal between them earlier this month.

This was the seventh round of Sino-ROK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, held in Wei Fang, Shan Dong Province. Talks began in May 2012.

The two parties reached consensus on trade in goods, the general scope of future agreements,  basic principles and the frameworks and elements of talks in all fields, China’s Ministry of Commerce reported.

At the sixth round of talks held in July in Busan, South Korea, both sides came closer to agreeing on basic guidelines including the level of liberalization of their trade, according to a statement by Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).

The FTA talks will be held in two stages and second stage negotiations will begin with the eighth round of talks in South Korea this year.

China is South Korea’s key trading partner, taking in 28.5 percent of all of South Korea’s exports.

China and South Korea are also working on a free trade deal that would include Japan.

Last year, bilateral trade between China and Japan hit $329.4 billion, while China-ROK trade reached $256.3 billion, according to China Daily.