SKorea says more talks needed on EU trade pact
South Korea's trade minister said Thursday that more talks are needed to narrow differences before forging a free trade pact with the European Union.
The two sides reached a tentative agreement on the pact Tuesday after almost two years of talks. They plan to settle two outstanding issues -- duty drawback and rules of origin -- at trade ministers' talks in London next week.
"More talks are necessary to narrow differences on the issue," Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon told a radio programme.
Regarding rules of origin, South Korea insists that items made at a Seoul-funded industrial complex in North Korea should be treated as South Korean goods.
Also, since South Korean manufacturers import many parts from China and elsewhere, the two sides need to agree what percentage of a finished item must be made in South Korea.
On the question of so-called duty drawback, South Korea wants the EU to let it refund tariffs to companies which use imported materials and parts, after the finished items are exported.
Kim said he would tell his EU counterpart Catherine Ashton that duty drawback was introduced decades ago and allowed under the World Trade Organisation.
"Other countries which are competing with us in the European market have this scheme," he said.
Brussels does not allow duty drawback under free trade accords with Mexico and Chile.
The 27-nation bloc was South Korea's second largest trading partner after China last year, with two-way trade worth more than 90 billion dollars.