A free trade agreement (FTA) between China and South Korea is expected to be signed in 2015 and take effect in the second half of 2015, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
"All negotiations on the agreement will be wrapped up by the end of 2014," Assistant Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen was quoted as saying at a press briefing in Beijing.
The agreement will cover 17 areas, including trade in goods and services, investment and trade rules, and topics such as e-commerce and government procurement, the report said. Over 90 percent of goods traded between China and South Korea will be tariff-free, accounting for more than 85 percent of bilateral trade value.
"Exports from China, especially mechanical and electrical products, metalware and farm produce, will enjoy the favorable conditions, while most of South Korea's industries will receive benefits," Wang said.
The two sides have reached a balance between opening markets and protecting domestic industry, setting transitional period for some tariff-free products, Wand said.
Two-way trade surpassed USD 270 billion in 2013, nearly 50 times the volume in 1992. Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye confirmed in Beijing the conclusion of substantive negotiations on the establishment of the free trade area, described by Xi as a milestone in promoting Asia-Pacific regional integration.