China signs biggest free trade deal with S Korea
China and South Korea signed a bilateral free trade agreement on Monday, the largest bilateralFTA deal for China in terms of volume.
Under the agreement, China will abolish tariffs on 91 percent of all South Korean products within20 years, while South Korea will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of all goods from China.
The countries began talks in May 2012 covering 17 areas, including trade in goods and services,health care, entertainment, investment and trade rules, as well as e-commerce and governmentprocurement.
After Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul in July 2014, negotiations on the pact maderapid progress. President Xi and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye announced aconclusion of substantive negotiations on the deal in Beijing in November 2014.
The deal, written in English, Chinese and Korean, will be implemented after getting approval fromparliaments of both countries.
The FTA, the largest bilateral free trade deal for China in terms of trade volume, covered 17areas, including trade in goods and services, investment and trade rules as well as e-commerceand government procurement.
During the talks on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Chinese Commerce Minister GaoHucheng and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Sang-jick shared views that the China-SouthKorea FTA will expand bilateral trade and investment, and that it will serve as an all- roundcooperative platform for the two countries to seek new growth engines.
The two ministers exchanged views about various issues, including a regional economicintegration via the trilateral FTA between Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo and the RegionalComprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The RCEP is a multilateral FTA that will include China, South Korea, Japan and 10 members ofthe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as India, Australia and NewZealand.