SKorea, EU to discuss signing free trade deal
The leaders of South Korea and the European Union plan to discuss a free trade deal and the security threat posed by North Korea at a summit in Seoul on Saturday, the president's office said.world Updated: May 18, 2009 16:34 IST
The leaders of South Korea and the European Union plan to discuss a free trade deal and the security threat posed by North Korea at a summit in Seoul on Saturday, the president's office said.
In March, chief negotiators for South Korea and the EU reached a tentative free trade deal after nearly two years of talks. The sides, however, remained far apart in certain sectors including rules governing the origin of products and tariff refunds. Any final agreement would also still need to be approved by South Korea's National Assembly and EU governments.
The talks will also cover boosting security ties between South Korea and the bloc, North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, the global economic crisis and climate change, the presidential Blue House said Monday.
President Lee Myung-bak will meet Czech President Vaclav Klaus, according to the statement. The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is also scheduled to attend the meetings, the Blue House said. The 27-member EU and South Korea already are major trade partners. Bilateral exchange reached $98.4 billion in 2008. The EU is South Korea's second-largest trading partner after China and is its largest foreign investor.