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First Round of Korea-ASEAN FTA Negotiations

First Round of Korea-ASEAN FTA Negotiations

1. Korea and ASEAN will hold the first round of official negotiations for the Korea-ASEAN FTA on February 23-25, 2005, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

O The Korean delegation will be headed by Mr. Hong Jong-ki, Deputy Minister for Trade at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and will consist of around 25 delegates including government officials from related ministries such as MOFAT, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and civilian experts from KIEP, KIET and KITA.

O The ASEAN delegation will be headed by Mr. David Chin, Director-General at the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, and will consist of around 30 delegates from the ten member countries of ASEAN and a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat.

2. This is the first round of negotiations since Korea and ASEAN announced that they would begin official negotiations to conclude an FTA within two years from 2005 in accordance with the ¡°Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership between ASEAN and the ROK¡° by the two heads of state at the Korea-ASEAN summit meeting held in November, 2004, in Vientiane, Laos.

O The two heads of state have agreed to eliminate tariffs on at least 80% of the overall goods by 2009 through FTA negotiations. This liberalization schedule is a year or two faster than that of China or Japan, and is aimed at securing the ASEAN market.

3. The round will be conducted in accordance with the report chosen from the ¡°Korea-ASEAN FTA Experts Group Meetings¡± that were held from March to August, 2004. The report points out that in order to maximize the potential of the Korea-ASEAN economic relations, the two sides need to expand trade and investment and pursue substantial liberalization in areas such as goods, services and investment through a bilateral FTA.

4. The two sides will discuss the negotiation methods, schedule, tariff reduction on goods, the range of liberalization, and methods for economic cooperation. Moreover, they will hold an unofficial experts group meeting and exchange information regarding rules of origin.

5. ASEAN has recently been actively pursuing FTAs with Korea¡¯s major competitors such as China and Japan. Therefore, the Korean government considers it important to secure the ASEAN market (ASEAN is Korea¡¯s fifth largest trade partner) by concluding a Korea-ASEAN FTA at an early stage. In particular, the Korean government will make efforts to conclude liberalization negotiations in goods even if it may take place before the final conclusion of the FTA.

* ASEAN has concluded negotiations for goods liberalization with China last year, and tariff elimination will begin progressively on Chinese goods starting from this year. ASEAN will be concluding an FTA with India within this year, and will begin official FTA negotiations with Japan in April.

Spokesperson for MOFAT


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