Munich Personal RePEc Archive

South Korean Economy and the Free Trade Agreement with China

Bayari, Celal (2020): South Korean Economy and the Free Trade Agreement with China. Published in: The Journal of East Asian Affairs , Vol. 33, No. 1 (30 July 2020): pp. 89-122.

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South Korea has had a continuous engagement with significant trade, investment and security matters simultaneously in its relations with other nations. South Korea’s bilateralism with China is a part of a larger milieu which China has been constructing, that includes the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). South Korea has become a member of the AIIB in December 2015 and it has not joined the BRI. The discussion here also concerns South Korea-China FTA agreement’s aftermath. China is a nation with a very broad range of regional, intraregional and global ambitions and strategies. Undoubtedly, the East Asian security framework has an overbearing impact on the trade and investment environment. Moreover, the relations between Seoul and Pyongyang are relevant to the economic and political developments in East Asia. There are earlier discussions of the structure of the US-South Korea and China-North Korea alliances and there is also prior coverage of the effects of China on North Korean economy and the consequences for South Korea, neither of which will not be recapped here due to lack of space. South Korea, together with the US, Japan, North Korea, China and Russia, has been engaged in a long process of negotiations in several ‘six party talks’ since 2003, to bring a lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula, which have not, as yet, led to a final outcome, as has been the case with the series of the US and North Korean disarmament talks that originated in 1994. While these issues are relevant to the larger context of the topic, in this discussion, the focus is on the South Korean economic model and business systems and its interaction with the Chinese economy and the 2015 FTA and the Chinese business systems.

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