China and South Korea have reached an agreement on a free trade deal between the two countries.
It covers 17 areas including online commerce although the rice and the car industries will remain protected.
South Korean business leaders praised the deal, which has been two years in the making.
Han Duck-Soo, Chairman of the Korea Industrial Trade Association said: “We welcome with open arms the deal on the FTA with our biggest trade partner. We expect the FTA with China, which is world number one in terms of trade and world number two in terms of the economy, will be a new growth engine in the future for South Korea’s industry and economy.”
However South Korean farmers have likened the agreement to a “nuclear bomb” for the industry. They say a previous FTA with the United States had already negatively affected farmers and small businesses.
On Sunday Russia and China signed a memorandum of understanding on a gas supply route to China. It paves the way for a contract that would make China the world’s biggest consumer of Russian gas.