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South Korea legislature approves free-trade pact with China

[SEOUL] South Korea's parliament on Monday ratified a free-trade agreement with China, authorising the expansion of relations with the country's biggest trading partner.

The pact, signed by the two countries in June and set to take effect as early as this year, will reduce barriers to commerce, but leaves in place curbs on rice and automobiles.

South Korea is one of the few developed countries that runs a surplus with China - to the tune of US$55.2 billion in 2014, according to the country's presidential office - thanks to exports of smartphones, flat screen TVs, and semiconductors.