Friday, 31 October 2008

FTA with Cambodia to go into effect in November

SEOUL, Oct 31 (Yonhap) -- A free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and Cambodia will go into effect as of November, the government said Friday.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said the moves follows notification by Phnom Penh on Thursday that all domestic administrative and legal processes have been completed for the open trade regime, which is expected to greatly increase two-way trade.

Under the agreement, Seoul will immediately ax import duties on 10,658 manufactured goods made in the Southeast Asian country including those for various clothing and shoes. Tariffs on 108 farm and fisheries goods including bananas, pineapples, rice, beef and pork are to be excluded because of possible impact on the local economy, the ministry said.

"Importers that provide country-of-origin verification papers issued by Cambodia's commerce ministry could import goods free of duties starting Saturday," a official said.

Bilateral trade reached US$300 million last year, with South Korea posting a surplus of $270 million.

Cambodia is the ninth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member to ratify such a pact, with Thailand being the only holdover.

An FTA with Singapore went into effect on March 2006, followed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar in June 2007. Tariffs were cut for goods from the Philippines starting in January of this year, while those for Brunei Darussalam and Laos became effective in July and this month respectively.

South Korea is a late starter in the FTAs with its first going into effect in April 2004 with Chile. It has since ratified an FTA with the European Free Trade Association in September 2006, and signed a pact with the United States in late June, 2007 that is pending approval by lawmakers from both countries.(Yonhap)

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