SEOUL, KOREA - Korea will resume free trade agreement talks with Russia after five years of hiatus since the Russian side declared a suspension of the negotiation in 2008. The Korean government will try to revive a project to build gas pipelines connecting the two countries in addition to the FTA talks.
The government held on May 21 a meeting of external affairs ministers presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Hyun Oh-Seok who said, "Since the joining of the World Trade Organization last year, Russia has rapidly emerged as an important growth engine of Eurasia. We will prepare for the Korea-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Cooperation in Economy and Science and Technology and the summit meeting scheduled in the latter half of this year without a glitch, thereby improving the bilateral relationship to a new level."
Russia and Korea opened a diplomatic relationship in 1990 as part of then-President Roh Tae-woo's "Northern Policy." Since that time on, the trade volume between the two countries has increased 116-folds. But when it comes to investment, Korea's investment in Russia last year was mere US$100 million. To encourage economic cooperation between the two, the Korean government began pushing forward with FTA talks in 2008. Even though the two governments held several rounds of meetings to form a joint research group, the talks fell apart after the declaration of suspension by the Russian side.
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