South Korea pledges free trade agreements with US, EU

June 16th, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

Seoul, June 16 (Xinhua) South Korean President Lee Myung-bak Monday said his government was committed to conclude the free trade agreements (FTA) with the US, the European Union (EU) and other key trading partners soon, the Yonhap news agency reported. “The Korea-US FTA is now awaiting legislative approval in both countries, while the Korean government will try to conclude the ongoing FTA negotiations with the EU and five countries worldwide as soon as possible,” the South Korean president said in his opening address to the eigth ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) finance ministers’ meeting on Jeju Island.

Lee also vowed to overhaul the nation’s economic laws and regulations in accordance with global standards, promote a business-friendly environment and lower taxes in order to attract more investment from abroad.

“The Republic of Korea is now in the midst of mapping out a new system for economic development and will actively pursue market liberalization and global economic cooperation through expansion of free trade agreement deals,” Lee said in his speech, the draft of which was released in advance.

The South Korean president called for greater cooperation between ASEM member states in dealing with global issues, such as climate change and soaring prices for oil and grains.

The president also stressed the need for regional economic and financial cooperation.

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