South Korea, EU start 'final round' of free trade talks

March 23, 2009 04:11

South Korea and the European Union kicked off what they expect to be their final round of talks Monday to conclude a free trade agreement they hope will send a strong anti-protectionist message. Negotiators began their eighth session of talks with smiles and a handshake in a conference room at South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Seoul's chief negotiator Lee Hye-min said they would be the "final round" in a process that began nearly two years ago and that a few outstanding issues needed to be resolved before they can send an agreement to trade ministers for final approval. He did not say what the issues were, though automobile trade - in which South Korea enjoys a huge surplus - had been a drag on the negotiations.

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