China hopes for jump in trade with South Korea

Updated: 2007-04-11 14:40

SEOUL - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that trade with South Korea could soon leap to $200 billion from $134 billion last year, urging the two leading Asian economies to open up their markets more to each other.

China is South Korea's biggest export market. Some analysts estimate that more than half of the shipments are of products assembled in China for re-export to other markets.

"We are willing to open our market to Korea, and increase imports from Korea. We would like Korea to further decrease its import barriers and provide opportunities for Chinese products," to enter into the Korean market," he told Chinese and Korean business leaders during a visit to Seoul before flying on to Japan.

Wen said bilateral trade had risen 26-fold by last year from 1992 when what are now Asia's second and third largest economies established diplomatic relations.

"We have to implement the result of our joint study on China-Korea economic trade cooperation and deepen the level of the channel of communication and create a trade environment that would enable us to increase our annual trade amount to $200 billion in the near future," he said.

"As well as the promise of faster developments in trade in electronics and mechanical goods, we should also create the best conditions for increasing agricultural, high technology products and service trade."

He also urged greater cooperation in technology and more investment by South Korean companies in China, which by the end of last year had already reached $35 billion.

"The Chinese government would like to see a larger shift by South Korean companies from general manufacturing to agriculture and high technology and service sectors, from processing and assembly lines to research and development and design."

He also hoped South Korean firms would be more active in helping build the social infrastructure and an eco-friendly environment in western China, and in redeveloping outdated industrial complexes in the east of the country.

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