SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Ecuador on Monday began an eighth round of talks on the formation of a bilateral free trade deal, Seoul's trade ministry said.
The two nations launched negotiations for the Strategic Economic Cooperation Agreement (SECA), a type of free trade pact, in 2016 and held five rounds of talks that year. The sixth round took place in July after a six-year hiatus.
The latest round of talks will continue through Friday, and they will take place in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The two sides seek to speed up negotiations to clinch a deal on a range of issues, including manufactured goods, services and procurement, as well as ways to boost supply chains of energy and key minerals, the ministry said.
The South American nation is rich in natural resources, such as copper, zinc and gold.
If the deal is reached, South Korea will be the first Asian country to have a free trade agreement with Ecuador.
Ecuador is South Korea's sixth major exports destination, with the bilateral trade volume coming to US$968 million in 2021, according to government data.
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