S. Korea, Chile to hold talks to upgrade bilateral FTA

SEOUL, South Korea and Chile will launch another round of talks on upgrading their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in response to changing global trade circumstances, Seoul's industry ministry said Wednesday.

The eighth round of negotiations to revise the FTA, which went into effect in 2004, will begin later in the day in Seoul and continue until Friday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

During the upcoming meeting, the two sides will deal with upgrading rules on a wide range of sectors, including goods trading, trade facilitation, intellectual property, labor and the environment, as well as energy and minerals, the ministry said.

"We've reached a consensus in some fields. The focus of the talks will be how to boost cooperation on intellectual property, the environment, energy and supply chains of minerals, among other sectors," the chief negotiator Ahn Chang-yong said.

Chile is rich in natural resources and is the world's No. 1 nation in terms of lithium and copper deposits.

Chile was South Korea's first free trade deal partner, and the agreement has served as a springboard for South Korean firms seeking to tap into the Central and South American markets, officials said.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of signing the bilateral FTA, and two-way trade has surged more than fivefold from US$1.5 billion in 2004 to about $8.3 billion last year, according to government data.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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