South Korea parliament ratifies free trade pact with China

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's parliament approved a free trade pact with China after opposition lawmakers secured a $1.4 billion relief package for farmers.

The ratification Monday paves way for the deal with South Korea's largest trading partner to take effect this year.

Lawmakers passed the deal after agreeing to spend 1.6 trillion won over the next decade as tax breaks and other aid for farmers and fishermen.

The main opposition party was against ratifying a deal that would hurt agriculture and fisheries.

Once put into effect, the deal would eliminate tariffs on $42 billion of South Korea's imports from China and on $73 billion in South Korean exports to China. Eventually, it will remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods.