The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on January 13 that the Korea-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Joint Committee held the first meeting in Beijing, China to review the implementation of the bilateral trade pact, one year after it entered into force in December 2015.
The high-level Joint Committee, established under the Korea-China FTA, oversees its implementation and resolves trade-related issues. Its first meeting was co-chaired by Director General for Trade Cooperation Kang Myung-soo at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Deputy Director General Hong Xiaodong of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.
The delegations reviewed the implementation of the Korea-China FTA in the past year and exchanged views on pending trade issues. The representatives acknowledged that the Korea-China FTA has become the cornerstone of bilateral trade, investment and cooperation between the two countries and has been mutually beneficial.
During the meeting, the representatives reviewed the Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES), which entered its full operation on Dec. 28, 2016 and enables customs authorities exchange the information of a certificate of origin electronically without requiring exporters to submit the original document. The two sides also agreed to expand the number of goods that can be listed on a certificate of origin to 50 from 20.
The delegations held a separate discussion on follow-up negotiations for the FTA in the fields of services, investment and government procurement as it is specified in the agreement. The bilateral economic cooperation under the Korea-China FTA including the Korea-China Economic Cooperation Complexes in three designated sites in China and one in Korea and economic cooperation between municipalities were also looked at.
The Korean delegation raised issues regarding China’s latest import regulatory measures against Korean-made polyoxymethylene, optical fiber, polysilicon and grain-oriented electrical steel as well as non-tariff barriers against high-definition multimedia interface monitors, seasoned seaweed, modified milk power and medical devices.
The Korean representatives expressed concerns over the recent increase in restrictive measures on Korean cosmetic exports and difficulties Korean investors experience in China, including exclusion of electric vehicles built with Korean-supplied batteries from government subsidies. Restrictions observed in the tourism, airline and cultural industries were also communicated.
The Chinese representatives requested Korea’s cooperation on the sanitary measures for live small octopus and implementation of the tariff-rate quota for agricultural and fishery products under the Korea-China FTA. The delegation also raised issues regarding access to the government procurement market and fishery licenses for Chinese investors while calling for more employment opportunities for Chinese nationals.
The two governments agreed to review the issues raised at the meeting in depth, communicate them to responsible ministries and continue dialogues to resolve them.
Ahead of the Joint Committee meeting, committees for different areas of the FTA met to examine the administration of the trade pact in their respective fields. The affiliated committees and working group will continue discussions whose outcomes will be reviewed by the Joint Committee at the next meeting to be convened one year later.