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China reports 'progress' in free trade talks with S. Korea

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BEIJING, May 31 (Yonhap) -- China has reported "positive progress" in its latest round of negotiations with South Korea aimed at forging a bilateral free trade agreement, but it remains unclear if the two sides made headway in sensitive issues.

The comments by China's commerce ministry on Friday came shortly after South Korea and China wrapped up their 11th round of negotiations in Meishan, located in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.

In a brief statement posted on its website, the Chinese ministry said the "positive progress" was made in areas that included trade remedy, intellectual property and trade barriers, but the two sides also held "intensive and in-depth" negotiations over goods and services.

Officials at the Chinese ministry were not immediately available for comments on Saturday.

South Korea and its biggest trading partner, China, began their formal free trade negotiations in May 2012.

Agriculture and fisheries are considered to be the most sensitive sectors for South Korea, while China categorizes its manufacturing industries, which include the automobile, machinery and oil sectors, as sensitive.

Two-way trade between South Korea and China, Asia's fourth-largest and the world's second-largest economies, respectively, exceeded US$270 billion last year, according to the Chinese ministry.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140531/china-reports-progress-free-trade-talks-s-korea