Top South Korean and Chinese negotiators met Tuesday for a seventh round of talks aimed at bridging contentious gaps that so far have prevented major progress in negotiations on a free trade agreement, an official said.
Assistant Trade Minister Woo Tae-hee and his Chinese counterpart, Yu Jianhua, kicked off the three-day talks in Weifang in eastern China, said the official at the South Korean embassy in
In the seventh round, South Korea aims to reach a broader consensus with China on basic guidelines over the level of liberalization and discuss tariff proposals, according to the official.
"After completing consultations on a modality (basic guideline), our side aims to begin negotiations on initial tariff offers during the seventh round of talks," the official said on the condition of anonymity.
South Korea offered to eliminate or phase out tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods, while China proposed to eliminate or phase out tariffs on about 80 percent, Seoul officials said earlier. The two sides launched formal negotiations in May last year.
Agriculture and fisheries are considered to be the most sensitive sectors for South Korea, while China categorizes its manufacturing industries, which include the automobile, machinery and oil sectors, as sensitive.
China is South Korea's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade stood at US$256.3 billion last year.