Thursday, February 25, 2010
South Korea and Turkey are expected to enter into the first stage of talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries in April this year.
The first phase of the process towards an FTA will be a bilateral forum to be held next month in Istanbul, where governmental and business representatives will discuss how to produce a framework for the subsequent talks.
Although the timing is short, Turkish officials are reported to have expressed the wish to have the bilateral FTA in place before the South Korea-European Union FTA comes into effect, possibly by the end of this year. Otherwise, they fear that trade between the two countries, which has already been reduced sharply by the economic recession, will be further adversely affected.
South Koreaís exports to Turkey dominate the trade relationship, with total trade estimated at USD3.1bn in 2009, and reduced by USD1bn from the previous year. However, Turkey would hope that its agricultural and textiles exports would be able to benefit from any future agreement.