SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea and Indonesia will hold their first round of talks this week on forging a free trade pact, officials said Wednesday (July 11th), AFP reported.
Negotiators will meet in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the scope and coverage of the pact and other issues, according to the trade ministry. South Korea already has a free-trade agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that includes Indonesia.
"We need a separate bilateral pact with Indonesia to expand the volume of trade and the scope of openness," a ministry official told AFP.
Seoul and Jakarta held three rounds of preliminary talks last year. In March, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the official launch of the talks.
Indonesia is South Korea's eighth-largest trading partner with bilateral trade worth $30.7 billion in 2011.
South Korea's exports to Indonesia rose 52% from a year earlier to $13.56 billion last year.