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MALAYSIA-SOUTH KOREA TRADE TO GROW BY 42 PER CENT THIS YEAR

By NBF NEWS
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South Korea's trade with Malaysia is expected to increase by 42 per cent this year in line with the global economic recovery, Bernama reported.

Its Deputy Trade Minister, Lee Hye-Min, said bilateral trade last year fell by 32 per cent following the worldwide financial and economic crises.

'There was a general trend from 2005 to 2007 where trade grew by about 10 per cent annually. But this year we predict a 42 per cent increase to make up for last year,' he told Bernama on the sidelines of Korea-Malaysia Business Forum here Thursday.

He said among the sectors that would give bilateral trade a boost were green energy, semiconductor, computers and electronics.

'I hope to see an increase in machinery and parts as well,' he said.

On another note, Lee said the Asean-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should look to further liberalise the services and investment areas, especially in the movement of people.

There are four modes in the services sector. Mode 1 involves cross-border supply; Mode 2 overseas consumption; Mode 3 commercial presence; and, Mode 4 the free movement of people.

Lee, who is also South Korea's chief FTA negotiator, said the agreement did not cover Mode 4 sufficiently.

'So we need to further elaborate on Mode 4 liberalisation in years to come,' he said.

The Asean-Korean FTA in the goods sector went into effect in June 2007, while in May last year, the FTA in the services sector went into effect.

He said the discussions, however, would only take place after 2012, when all the Asean countries had eliminated all tariff lines.

At present, South Korea has eliminated almost 90 per cent of the tariff lines, he said.

'After that, we would need to discuss further how to deepen and broaden our trade liberalisation. It is built in the FTA agenda,' he said.