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SEOUL, March 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's import prices jumped 16.9 percent on-year in February mainly due to higher oil prices, the central bank said Tuesday. In local currency terms, the country's import prices soared 16. 9 percent in February from a year earlier, the fastest pace since February 2009 when it recorded an 18 percent on-year expansion, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said.

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During the recent visit of the European Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, to Malaysia, it was disclosed that negotiations on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and Malaysia should be completed by the middle of 2012.

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WASHINGTON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Private sector can play a more important role in helping build trade capacity for developing countries, said Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Robert Zoellick, the World Bank President, on Monday. "Business should be more creative" to help developing countries upgrade trade capacity, Lamy said at a panel discussion with Zoellick at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C..

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The Colombian government said on Sunday that it expected to continue its negotiation on a trade agreement with Japan after the massive earthquake that hit the Asian country on Friday. According to Colombia's Foreign Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados, the negotiation that began in 2010 aimed to increase Colombia's trade balance. He said he hoped that Japan's economy would be restored soon, adding that he sent a letter last week to Japan's Economy and Trade Ministry to make the procedures of the trade agreement.

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Pakistan is reportedly unhappy with China over non-tariff barriers imposed by China on Pakistani exports despite a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), well informed sources told Business Recorder. "We are very concerned over the non tariff barriers in China because of which our companies are at a distinct disadvantage against products of Chinese companies," the sources added.

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(Reuters) - The World Trade Organization's top court upheld on Friday some Chinese objections to a ruling that had backed the right of the United States to impose extra duties on Chinese goods that Washington said were unfairly priced and subsidized. In particular, the appellate body supported China's argument -- rejected by the original dispute panel -- that the imposition of such a double penalty broke WTO trade rules. The case turned on the treatment of goods from a country that is not a market economy and where the state influences prices.

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The United Steelworkers (USW) said that today's decision by the Appeals body of World Trade Organization (WTO) is a slap in the face to U.S. workers and industries that are harmed by China's predatory trade practices. The USW believes this decision will undercut the ability of the U.S. to fully and effectively apply countervailing duty and anti-dumping laws against China.

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India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has disclosed that Taiwan and India are to undertake a non-official feasibility study into a proposed bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), after which it would be decided whether to begin official negotiations. This was also confirmed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, from where it was said that the study would be undertaken by private think tanks, Taiwan’s Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

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Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., left, in meetings with Russia’s president on Wednesday, called the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization “the most important item on our agenda,” and promised that the White House would push for the repeal of cold-war-era trade restrictions. But he warned that international investors were watching closely to see whether Russia made progress on corruption and rule of law.

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During remarks to senior officials from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Washington, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State, emphasized the strong commitment of the United States government to free trade in the region, as long as it is fair, transparent and “delivers results to the American people.” She stressed that the US is seeking free trade partnerships that are governed reasonably, are rules-based, "and that give businesses from all of our economies the chance to compete and that are grounded in shared principles.”

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