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Progress and Implications of the China-Korea FTA
Published July 18, 2017
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The article focuses on the China-Korea FTA, analyzing the background of China-Korea bilateral economic relations, the characteristics of the China-Korea FTA and more importantly, the implications and future prospect of this free trade pact. So far, the China-Korea FTA is considered to be the most comprehensive compared with China's previous FTAs and may be the largest in trade terms among all the FTAs concluded by Korea and China, playing a positive role in advancing economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. However, with lots of exceptions to tariff elimination and market access, as well as a 20-year transition period, the present version of the China-Korea FTA is far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment rules. The recent bilateral diplomatic tensions due to the decision of deploying the THAAD missile system by the Korean government may also jeopardize bilateral economic ties between China and Korea, and further increase uncertainties of the China-Korea FTA. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese and Korean governments will handle this issue smoothly under the present sensitive political atmosphere and achieve substantial progress in follow-up FTA negotiations on services and investment.

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