Turkey Agrees FTA with Korea

Turkey and Korea have concluded talks on a bilateral free trade agreement, and the pact will now come into effect once it has been ratified by both parliaments. The deal was announced by President Lee Myung-bak and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when they met at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday.

This is the latest in a series of similar deals completed by Turkey in the last 2 years as it employs a zero-problem foreign policy and builds its sphere of influence around the world, while reducing its reliance on EU accession. Turkey is Korea's 9th FTA agreement, but the number of countries Korea has an FTA with is actually 46th because of deals with blocs like the EU.

Kang Boo-seong of the Ministry Strategy and Finance expressed expectations, saying, "Turkey is strategically located between Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The country will serve as a good strategic foothold for us to seek expansion of trade with the Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf."

It is thought that the Korean car industry will be among the biggest benefactors. Automotive sales in Turkey are currently growing rapidly, and as the current 10% trade levy on Korean car exports into the country is gradually reduced and then abolished in seven years it will make Korean cars more competitive in the market.

Turkey is Korea's 33rd largest trading partner, with bilateral trade at US$5.89 billion or about 0.5 percent of Korea's total trade volume last year. Korea posted a trade surplus of $4.28 billion last year, with exports to Turkey of $5.08 billion and imports of $804 million.

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