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“In the latest round of negotiations, the two sides began discussions for a rough draft of the trade agreement and on the level of liberalization for products, based on the agreed modality, ” said a Ministry statement.
Korean news agency Yonhap quoted Seoul officials describing it as “a good start”.
The five-day talks, the first for the second-stage negotiations, were held at the Songdo international business district in South Korea’s western port city of Incheon.
According to the ministry, South Korea and China also held separate working group talks focused on the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), intellectual property rights, service and investment and other issues relevant to liberalization under the proposed trade deal.
Initial offers of the two sides on the level of liberalization this time marked a “good start,” said a ministry official.
The two neighbors completed the first-stage negotiations in early September with a total of seven rounds of talks, agreeing on the modality, or basic guidelines for the Sino-Korean FTA.
In the previous round of talks, Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 per cent of all products in terms of the number of items, and 85 per cent of imports in terms of their monetary value.
The ministry said the next round of negotiations will be held in China, with dates to be announced later.
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks received a significant push during South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s state visit to Beijing in June.
China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner, with Seoul’s exports to Beijing accounting for a quarter of the total in 2012.
Annual trade reached $256 billion in 2012.