Turkish-S Korean free trade agreement enacted

Turkish-S Korean free trade agreement enacted

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish-S Korean free trade agreement enacted

Labor Minister Çelik (L) and South Korean Minister Taeho Bark exchange gifts. AA photo

A free trade agreement (FTA) that was earlier signed in Turkey by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Turkish officials partially went into effect yesterday.

The part of the agreement that has come into effect is related to food and merchandise, while a services section will come into effect later.

Visiting South Korean Trade Minister Taeho Bark signed the agreement yesterday, six months after Lee visited Turkey, allowing it to take effect. Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çaglayan said the FTA would provide the two countries with a free trade volume of more than $10 billion in less than three years. He said the FTA would also lead to the two countries launching investments in third countries.

Presently the trade volume between the two countries is over $6 billion annually, with the lion’s share in South Korea’s direction.

Çağlayan earlier said that around 90 percent of items in mutual trade would see an ease in taxation, and the initial gainer would be the Turkish side. Turkey and South Korea also signed a deal for cooperation on social security issues. Bark and Turkish Labor Minister Faruk Çelik attended the ceremony.

Meanwhile, a delegation of officials from South Korea’s army has arrived in Turkey for a number of tests on TAI T-129 attack helicopters.

The South Korean Army had earlier this year shortlisted the Turkish-Italian AgustaWestland T-129 chopper, together with the U.S. Army’s AH-64D and the U.S.-Marine Forces’ AH-1Z King Cobra gunships. South Korea is due to choose the copters in October, and the Turks say it would be an excellent opportunity to close the trade deficit, if South Korea chooses the T-129. But for the sale to be made, Turkish Aerospace Industries should cut the price, analysts said.