S. Korea, U.S., continue free trade talks

Nov. 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM
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SEOUL, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A South Korean trade official said free trade talks with the United States would continue one day before a presidential meeting on the issue.

With a Group of 20 summit beginning in Seoul Wednesday evening, Presidents Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak are scheduled to hold a private meeting Thursday on the free trade agreement signed by both countries in 2007 but not yet ratified in the United States.

Yonhap reported Tuesday South Korean Deputy Minister for Trade Choi Seok-young confirmed talks between trade representatives Ron Kirk and Kim Jong-hoon would take place Wednesday.

The two sides are working to establish an agreement on automobile imports to South Korea. U.S. automakers have complained South Korea's higher fuel efficiency standards puts U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage.

South Korean standards mandate fuel efficiency of 39 miles per gallon by 2015 while U.S. standards are for cars to reach 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

Several media sources have said there are also disagreements on beef imports, but Kim said Monday, "It is our basic position that beef is not related to the free trade deal."

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