Any bets if we will see any massive anti-China FTA protests in Korea with this news?:
President Lee Myung-bak agreed to begin the necessary “domestic procedures” for opening formal negotiations on a South Korea-China free trade agreement during a summit meeting Monday afternoon with Chinese president Hu Jintao at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Lee and Hu expressed interest in working out a South Korea-China FTA “so that the trend of economic partnership is further strengthened,” the Cheong Wa Dae (South Korea’s presidential office or Blue House) reported.
The necessary domestic procedures for an FTA include hearings at home, deliberation by a promotion committee, and voting at a meeting of foreign and economic ministers. In the case of the South Korea-United States FTA (KORUS FTA), the procedures in 2006 took approximately three months.
A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said the agreement was “strongly requested by China” and explained that the chances of formal negotiations starting in the near future were “not high.”
Lee was invited by Beijing to spend three days in China in honor of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Analysts said the impact of an FTA between South Korea and China would be far greater for the national economy than the agreements with the US or European Union. [Hankyoreh]