February 06, 2012 12:59
President Lee Myung-bak and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday agreed to resume cooperation on nuclear power projects worth US$20 billion. As part of that effort, a consortium of SK Engineering and Construction and Korea South-East Power will sign a memorandum of understanding with Turkey's state-run Electricity Generation Company (EUAS) to build a power plant in Afsin-Elbistan region.
The talks were suspended last year.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said Turkey "led negotiations in a way that induced competition between Korea and Japan" and talks came to a halt because the conditions set out by Turkey "did not meet international standards." But after the massive accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant last year, Turkey asked to resume negotiations.
Lee and Erdogan, who met for lunch in Istanbul, also agreed to conclude a bilateral free-trade agreement in the first half of this year.
"Although the two sides do not disagree on the products to be included in the FTA talks, there is some disagreement in the service and investment sectors," the Cheong Wa Dae official said. "However, we believe that the negotiations will go smoothly so it is highly likely that the FTA will be inked in the first half of this year."
There have been three rounds of negotiations since the FTA talks started in 2010. Turkey is particularly keen on the FTA because it has a massive trade deficit against Korea. Last year, exports to Turkey stood at $5.08 million and imports at only $800 million.
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