Posted January. 14, 2010 08:47,
Free trade could account for up to half of Koreas combined trade after the government signs free trade agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Peru and Turkey by the first half of next year.
Deputy Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Lee Hye-min told a regular news briefing at the Central Government Complex in Seoul yesterday, We will actively pursue FTAs we are pushing for, and increase the portion of trade through FTAs from 14 percent to the global average of 50 percent.
Since the effectuation of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India Jan. 1, free trade accounts for around 14 percent of Koreas combined trade. If the free trade deal with the European Union is ratified, the rate will rise to 25.4 and further to 35.3 percent if the agreement with the U.S. takes effect.
Additionally, the ministry predicts the rate will rise to around 50 percent after Korea signs the same deals with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Peru and Turkey.
Korea will also continue efforts to conclude a trilateral free trade deal with China and Japan and bilateral ones with China and Japan.
We will conduct a joint study with industry, government and academia on the Korea-China-Japan FTA in this years first half, Lee said. To this end, the three countries will hold director general-level prep talks in Seoul Jan. 26 to set detailed FTA guidelines and future plans.
Free trade talks will also be pursued with Mercosur, a trading bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as with African countries.