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Deal may facilitate

Deal may facilitate tri-partite agreement with Japan, broader regional partnership

China and South Korea on Wednesday initialed a bilateral free trade agreement as both sides are hoping to increase trade, according to a press release from China's Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry said negotiations have concluded and both sides have confirmed all the details.

"China and South Korea have agreed to work for the official signing of the China-South Korea FTA within the first half of this year. The government of South Korea will implement it as rapidly as possible by getting approval from the parliament," said a press release issued by South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Under the FTA, which was initialed and exchanged with China's Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, the two agreed to offer preferential treatment to each other's financial companies and establish a joint organization to deal with bilateral business issues.

Zhao Zhongxiu, a trade professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the FTA will become South Korea's most significant trade pact because China is already its largest trading partner.