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5th round of Korea-GCC FTA negotiations 2022-06-09

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) chief FTA negotiator Lee Kyung-sik led the South Korean delegation in the 5th round of Korea-GCC FTA negotiations held through June 6-9 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The 4th round of negotiations were held in March this year after a 13-year hiatus, where the two sides discussed their respective areas of interest. In the 5th round, talks cover products, services, investment, e-commerce, customs clearance, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT) and SMEs collaboration.

The GCC is one of South Korea’s key trading partners in energy, resources and construction. With a population of 5.9 million and GDP per capita of USD 24,000, in addition to the region’s industrial diversification initiative, a great level of bilateral cooperation can be expected.

Some of the key points for this 5th round include open access to each other’s markets of interest, Korea’s construction and plant market penetration measures, information and communications technology (ICT), energy and establishing a collaboration framework for stronger multifaceted cooperation.

Leading up to this round, MOTIE has gathered opinions of various stakeholders across different industries, fields of expertise and public institutions, and incorporated them into its negotiations strategy. Locally operating Korean businesses and public institution personnel met up with MOTIE officials to exchange views on June 5.

Chief negotiator Lee stated that “based on the previously shared points of interest, Korea and GCC will be finetuning to establish an economic cooperation framework dealing with not only products and services but a wide range of other areas as well”, and added that “negotiations will involve sufficient communication to gather industry input.”