Over 70% of local firms support FTA with China
The survey of 500 Korean companies, conducted by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), found that 71.3 percent of the respondents favored an FTA with China, with 28.7 percent opposing it.
However, 84.8 percent of the companies polled said that the government should put top priority on countermeasures to minimize potential damage to local industries.
“Given the extent of economic cooperation between Korea and China, most Korean companies seem to share the view that an FTA with China is necessary for the sustainable development of the Korean economy,” the KCCI said.
The companies predicted that the sectors of automobiles, IT, petrochemicals, machinery and foods will suffer losses from an FTA with China, while steel and the household items industries will benefit from the pact.
China is Korea’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade expected to reach $300 billion by 2015.
In early May, the two countries announced the launch of formal free trade negotiations, saying they expected the talks to take two years. Since 2008, Korea and China have held a series of joint feasibility studies on a possible free trade deal and exchanged views on sensitive issues.
On Nov. 1, officials from the two countries completed a three-day meeting after exchanging views on related issues.
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