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Seoul says FTA with Turkey will take effect in May
SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey will go into effect in May, opening the door for the two nations to expand bilateral trade and boost economic cooperation, the Seoul government said Monday.

   The free trade deal will completely remove import tariffs on nearly all products of both countries within the next 10 years, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

   The agreement deals only with products with negotiations for similar deals for the service and investment sectors set to be launched within one year following the implementation of the product FTA.

   The trade deal was officially signed on Aug. 1, 2012, but its implementation had been delayed until its approval by Turkey's parliament. South Korea's National Assembly ratified the bilateral FTA late last year.

   "Amid a steady surplus in trade with Turkey, the country's exports to Turkey will further expand with the removal of import tariffs on all industrial products, including automobiles, plastic and auto parts that are key exports to Turkey, within the next seven years," the ministry said in a press release.

   The bilateral trade deal is South Korea's ninth FTA. Seoul has eight other bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with 45 countries, including the United States and members of the European Union.

   "The Korea-Turkey FTA will not only become an initial explosive to expand the two countries' economic and trade relations, but also an important opportunity to strengthen their cooperation in various areas, including nuclear power generation, defense industry and construction," the ministry said.

   In 2012, Turkey was South Korea's 25th-largest trading partner with US$4.55 billion worth of goods shipped there with imports from the European country amounting to $672 million.

   The ministry said the Korea-Turkey FTA will help boost South Korea's gross domestic product by 0.01 percent in the first five years of its implementation and by 0.03 percent in 10 years.