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August 22, 2008

S Korea-EU FTA talks: Sensitive issues on agenda
Top negotiators of South Korea and the European Union (EU) will meet in Seoul next week to seek progress in their free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations by tackling sensitive issues, the Korea Herald reported Thursday.

"The chief negotiators will meet next week to discuss sticky issues, because we feel that the talks need to focus more now on the key sensitive areas," the Korean daily quoted Lee Hye-min, chief FTA regulator at South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as saying.

Discussions between Lee and his EU counterpart Garcia Bercero will take place from August 27 to 29 to deal with major sticking points, including automobiles, local media said.

Lee said that finding common ground on such topics as tariff concessions and technical standards for automobiles will be especially tough and added that he expects the EU to keep automobiles until the very end of the negotiations.

According to Lee, three separate expert-level talks about manufactured goods, services and technical standards would be held during the three days.

Next week's talks will follow the smaller-scale meeting held between the FTA chief negotiators in Paris in July.  

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