S.Korea, China resume dialogue on economic, trade cooperation

South Korea and China held a business dialogue on Monday involving business leaders, and former and incumbent government officials, following November’s summit between the leaders of the two countries.

Increasing high-level talks and 1.5-track public-private dialogue platforms were among the areas South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on during their first summit in Bali in November, which took place on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting.

The business dialogue, co-hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Beijing-based think tank China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), was established in 2018 as a channel to promote bilateral economic cooperation but had been suspended since 2019 over Covid-19. Monday’s session took place virtually.

During the forum, they discussed how to elevate the bilateral economic partnership to the next level.

They adopted a joint statement calling for a swift agreement on the second phase of the Korea-China free trade agreement to stabilise the two-way trade.

Working-level talks have been under way between Seoul and Beijing on expanding the FTA to include the opening up of markets to the service and investment sectors. The Korea-China FTA went into effect in December 2015, with the removal of major tariffs.

They also called for efforts to enhance cooperation in the framework of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade pact involving the two countries and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The deal took effect for South Korea in February this year.

Other proposals included expanding international cooperation and policy exchanges in sustainable growth and carbon emissions goals, and normalizing people-to-people exchanges.

Among the participants at the dialogue were SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as the KCCI chief; Choi Seok-young, former chief FTA negotiator; Bi Jingquan, executive vice chairman of the CCIEE; and Ma Yongsheng, chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp.

20221212-142803

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