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Signing of Korea-China trade deal possible in H1

Staff writer |
South Korea and China could formally sign a bilateral free trade agreement within the first half of this year, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said.

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South Korea and China completed the "initialing" of the deal last month, marking a step closer to the official signing, after declaring "substantial conclusion" of their free trade talks last November.

South Korea and China have been translating the English-language text of the deal into both Korean and Chinese, Gao said.

"Formal signing of the deal can take place within the first-half of this year," Gao was quoted as saying.

Under the deal, South Korea and China will remove tariffs on about 90 percent of goods traded between the two nations over the next two decades. However, rice and autos were excluded from the deal.

Two-way trade between South Korea and China totaled US$228.9 billion in 2013.

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