South Korea and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states will hold their third round of free trade negotiations in Seoul next week.
What is being discussed?
The talks are in preparation for a free trade pact that is envisaged before the end of 2009 and are reported to be concerned with tariff concessions and other issues. The GCC consists of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait and its members are estimated to hold around 40% of the world’s oil reserves. Interestingly, the GCC was South Korea’s second-largest trading partner in 2008 (the first being China) with two-way trade reached approximately $101 billion.
South Korea’s external economic policy
South Korea currently has Free Trade Agreements with Chile, Singapore and the European Free Trade Area, comprising Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that covers manufactured goods and agricultural products. South Korea is currently in negotiations with the European Union, Canada and Mexico as well as the GCC although talks with the EU have stalled on the issue of duty drawback in the auto sector (see ITS article “EU-South Korea Pact Delayed in the Latest News section of the ITS website”)
For more news and latest developments visit www.internationaltradesolutions.co.uk