SEOUL (Kyodo) Japan and South Korea began their fifth round of talks Monday to negotiate a free-trade agreement by the end of next year, the South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said.

The three days of talks in Kyongju will see negotiators on discussing positions based on a draft agreement exchanged at the third round of talks in April, the ministry said.

The South Korean team will emphasize nontariff measures and mutual recognition, South Korean officials said.

Subcommittee meetings have dealt with seven sectors: trade in goods; service and investment; nontariff measures; mutual recognition; other trade-related issues; economic cooperation; and settlement of disputes.

The South Korean team is headed by Deputy Minister for Trade Chong Woo Seong, while the Japanese delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Ichiro Fujisaki.

Japan and South Korea launched the talks in December with an aim to conclude the negotiations by the end of next year.

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