In Shanghai, Park beats trade pact drum

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In Shanghai, Park beats trade pact drum

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President Park Geun-hye, right, gives a speech at the Korea-China Business Forum held on Friday in the Sheraton Hotel in Shanghai, China. [NEWSIS]

SHANGHAI - President Park Geun-hye urged businessmen in both Korea and China to make the best out of the free trade agreement between the two countries at a business forum Friday.

Park wrapped up a three-day trip to China by giving a speech at the Korea-China Business Forum. About 370 guests including 170 business delegates from Korea attended the Shanghai forum hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

In her speech, Park stressed that a new era of cooperation is starting with the Korea-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The deal, designed to eventually eliminate tariffs on about 90 percent of the goods traded between the two countries, was finalized in November 2014. China and Korea officially signed the landmark deal in June. It will enter into force later this year after legislatures of both countries approve it.

In addition to expanding trade and investments between the two countries, Park stressed the need to widen cooperation in the fields of health, medicine and in the cultural realm. Companies in the two countries were urged to tackle jointly global issues such as the environment and climate change.

According to the Blue House, Park’s visit to China provided opportunities for small Korean companies. Business consultation events for Korean suppliers and Chinese buyers took place to coincide with her visit to Shanghai, and about $240 million worth of deals were signed, the Blue House said.

The first sessions of supplier-buyer meetings took place from Aug. 27 to 29 in Shanghai on the sidelines of an exposition featuring Hallyu, or the Korean Wave of entertainment products. A second session took place hours before the Korea-China Business Forum.

About 107 Korean companies and 400 Chinese buyers attended last month’s session, which was focused on cultural content and cosmetics products. A total of 1,018 consultations took place and 15 contacts worth $10.01 million were signed.

During the second consultations, 80 Korean companies and 180 Chinese buyers discuss deals in the health, medical, aerospace components and environmental industries. Out of 320 discussions, 18 deals worth $232 million were signed.

The Blue House said expectations were low for the second session because the preparation period was short. But 80 Korean companies signed up for the event to benefit from Park’s trip to Shanghai. About 90 firms from Shanghai and another 90 companies from other parts of China also signed up, the Blue House said.

A new business model was also created through the events, the Blue House said. CJ IMC, a Korean conglomerate with an established online sales network in China, participated as a buyer in the event and supported the small Korean companies’ entry into the Chinese market.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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