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China Daily Website  

Chinese, ROK presidents exchange congratulations on landmark FTA

Updated: 2015-06-01 18:59

BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, on Monday exchanged congratulations on the signing of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), hailing the achievement as a milestone in bilateral relations.

With both countries being important economies in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, the signing of the China-South Korea FTA will not only lead to new leaps in bilateral trade and economic ties and bring tangible benefits to the two peoples, but also allow them to make greater contributions to regional economic integration and global economic development, Xi said.

China and South Korea enjoy geographical proximity, cultural affinity and economic complementarity, Xi added, noting that China has become South Korea's largest trade partner and largest destination of overseas investment, while South Korea has become China's third largest trade parter and fifth largest source of overseas investment.

For her part, Park said the FTA serves as an institutional framework for future bilateral cooperation and has charted the course from a long-term and strategic level for the two countries to carry on their collaboration.

It has set up a historic milestone in the deepening of the two countries' strategic cooperative partnership, and will bring more opportunities and benefits to the enterprises and people of both sides and lift the status of both nations in the international community, she added.

South Korea and China should work together to help their people and enterprises take full advantage of the FTA and enjoy more benefits, Park suggested, adding that the deal will play a positive role not only in promoting the prosperity of the two countries and the broader East Asia but also in galvanizing global economic growth.

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Sang-jick, signed the FTA in Seoul, three years after the two countries began talks in May 2012.

Under the accord, within 20 years after the implementation of the deal, South Korea will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of all products from China, while China will abolish tariffs on 91 percent of all imported South Korean goods.

The pact, the largest bilateral free trade deal for China in terms of trade volume, will take effect after getting approval from the parliaments of both countries.

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