January 20, 2009

S. Korea, EU say trade talks progressing

South Korea's trade minister said the European Union had agreed to an eighth and, possibly, final round of trade talks in March.

We confirm that we have made significant progress during this week's talks, Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon told reporters Tuesday, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

EU negotiator Catherine Ashton agreed we have made significant progress.

Calling the issues complex and complicated, Ashton said, our principle is to develop and support our business and the economy.

A free trade agreement could increase South Korean and the EU's 2007 trade figure of $93 billion by 40 percent, unofficial studies have shown.

The EU has outstanding investments of $43.4 billion in South Korea, making it the largest foreign investor in the country, Yonhap said.