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Korea-Japan FTA Negotiations Faces Differences on Timing of Tariff Removal

Korea-Japan FTA Negotiations Faces Differences on Timing of Tariff Removal

Posted February. 22, 2004 22:27,   


The Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is expected to face a stalemate with both countries’ gap on when the tariff will be abolished growing further apart.

Trade Minister Hwang Doo-yun met Nakagawa Shoichi, Minister of Economy Trade and Industry in Japan, who paid a visit to Korea recently, on Saturday and discussed pending issues on trade and the economy between the two countries, including FTA, the Foreign Ministry said.

Hwang called for, relating to a Korea-Japan FTA, flexibility on abolishing tariffs on sensitive items such as manufactured goods, the early removal of more Japanese products, and cooperation between the two countries in order to prevent any backlash in the private sector and intervention of historical, political issues into negotiation.

However, the Foreign Ministry said that Minister Nakagawa responded, “I cannot understand why Korea asks for different timing in abolishing tariffs between the two countries like other developing countries.”

Such a different point of view is expected to make influences on the result of the second round FTA negotiation, scheduled for today in Japan, and thus, smooth sailing in the negotiations can hardly be predicted.

While Hwang expressed concern about countervailing duties on semiconductors made by Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Minister Nakagawa just responded that he would deal with this issue on the basis of World Trade Organization (WTO)’s regulation and the national law of Japan.

Ki-Jeong Ko koh@donga.com