South Korea and New Zealand began the first round of free trade talks yesterday, following the start of negotiations between Australia and the Asian nation last month. Scheduled to last until Friday, the negotiations will look to secure bilateral trade between the countries, worth almost US$2 billion. Korea imports mainly beef and dairy goods from New Zealand and exports petroleum products and cars. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Chile, the European Free Trade Association and Singapore have already signed pacts with Korea, which is keen to increase its tally of free trade agreements to maintain and enhance its export-led economy. It is currently in negotiations with Australia, and also the European Union, Canada, India and Mexico.