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S. Korea and Israel sign FTA Updated: 2019-08-22 13:21:00 KST

After three years of negotiations, South Korea signed a free trade agreement with Israel in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The deal makes Korea the first Asian FTA partner of Israel.
Under the agreement, Korea will scrap 99.9 percent of tariffs on Israeli imports, and Israel will remove ALL tariffs on Korean products.
That will help Korea's main exports including automobiles, autoparts and cosmetics to enter Israel without facing tariffs.

"Everybody drives Korean cars. And I think it's also the ability to have the technological exchanges that will give us great advantage for the future."

In return, South Korea mainly imports industrial equipment from Israel.
South Korea will lift tariffs on Israeli equipment for chip production within 3 years, seeking to help local firms diversify their import portfolio.
South Korea's trade ministry said the bilateral deal will help strengthen technological exchanges including machines and biohealth.

The two countries vowed to open up the service and investment sectors as well as provide more leeway beyond the General Agreement on Trade in Services under the World Trade Organization.
Barriers on sensitive agricultural goods, including rice and garlic, will still remain, but tariffs on Israeli grapefruits will be abolished in seven years.
The FTA, however, will not cover Palestinian territories.
The new trade deal is expected to boost bilateral trade, which recorded 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

It is expected to take effect in the first half of 2020 after a legal review, a signing ceremony and parliamentary ratification.
KIM Da-mi, Arirang News.
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