The Republic Korea will expedite Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with Uzbekistan, the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in said in his New Year address on Monday.
“We will expand exchanges and cooperation with our New Southern and New Northern Policy partner nations by expediting FTA negotiations with the Philippines, Cambodia and Uzbekistan.,” he said.
At the end of July last year, a public hearing was held in Seoul on the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. Prior to this, the countries conducted joint studies on the feasibility of concluding such an agreement. In September, it was reported that South Korea was finalizing internal procedures for preparing an agreement, after which the countries would begin formal negotiations.
South Korea ranks fourth in the list of Uzbekistan's main foreign trade partners. In 2019, the volume of trade between the two countries, according to the State Statistics Committee, topped US$ 2.755 billion (imports - US$ 2.661 billion, exports - US$ 93.6 million), in January-September 2020 - US$ 1.599 billion (imports - US$ 1.565 billion, exports - 34.1 million). For South Korea, Uzbekistan was the 35th largest export destination in 2019.
In August, South Korean media reported that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev could visit Seoul by the end of 2020, but the visit did not take place.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the Republic of Korea in November 2017. In April 2019, President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in visited Uzbekistan.