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In the first half this year, China’s trade with the ROK, China’s fourth largest trading partner, increased by 9.4% year-on-year. China and the ROK are also advancing the phase-two negotiation of their FTA. What are the reasons behind their booming trade relations? What are the progress so far in the phase-two negotiation?(2022-07-21)

China and the ROK are important trading partners for each other. Over the past thirty years since the establishment of their diplomatic relationship, the two countries have experienced a leap forward in bilateral trade. In 2021, bilateral trade surpassed the US$360 billion mark, 72 times the level 30 years ago. Through seeking synergy between development strategies, implementing the bilateral FTA, pushing forward cooperation on industrial parks, and deepening third-market cooperation, China and the ROK has built an industrial and supply chain system that is mutually integrated, stable and smooth. The entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement earlier this year opens up a broader space for further trade and economic cooperation between our two countries. In the first half of 2022, China-ROK bilateral trade reached US$184.25 billion, up 9.4% year-on-year. This rapid growth in the context of brittle global economic recovery gives full display to the strong complementarity between our economies, as well as the resilience and potential of our trade and economic cooperation.

On your second question: Since the signing of the China-ROK FTA in 2015, the two sides have had eight rounds of tariffs reduction, and over 40% of the tariff lines of imports from the ROK enjoy zero tariff treatment. Imports and exports covered by the agreement have seen significant growth, and bilateral trade and investment have increased notably. The FTA has been a major contributor to bilateral trade and economic relations.

According to relevant provisions of the FTA, the two sides have begun the phase-two negotiation with consultations on high-level services trade and investment liberalization in the form of negative lists. Nine rounds of negotiation have been carried out with substantial progress. Recently the two sides have had a DG-level meeting, reaching consensus on accelerating follow-up consultations. China stands ready to work with the ROK to keep the momentum and conclude a mutually beneficial agreement at an early date to further elevate openness and cooperation of services trade and investment between the two countries and bring the China-ROK trade and economic relationship to a higher level. Thank you.