Diplomatic and Military Affairs

S Korea to pass free trade bill with EU in April

Updated: 2011-03-10 15:28


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SEOUL - South Korea's parliament will likely pass a ratification bill of the free trade deal with the European Union in April's extra parliamentary session, local media reported Thursday.

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Rival party members of the parliament's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee have agreed to hold a plenary meeting in mid-April to pass the pending bill, a ruling Grand National Party member told Yonhap News Agency in Seoul.

The ratification motion, submitted to the parliament in October last year, still awaits legislative approval here, while the European parliament in February to what it said was "the most ambitious trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated."

The pact is expected to eliminate about 98 percent of import duties and other trade barriers in manufactured goods, agricultural products and services over the next five years.

South Korea projects the bilateral pact will help its gross domestic product to grow 5.6 percent and create 250,000 new jobs, along with average annual trade surplus of $360 million over the next 15 years.

Opposition lawmakers here have voiced opposition to the agreement on concern that it would kill the country's hog and dairy industries hit hard by the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease.


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