– The Republic of Korea (RoK) is working hard to conclude free trade talks with Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia before November when leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (
) meet for the ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit in the country.
According to Yonhap news agency, Asia’s fourth-largest economy already has a free trade agreement with ASEAN, but the country is seeking to broaden economic ties with individual members through separate free trade deals amid growing protectionism.
The RoK and the
shared the opinion that trade between the two sides should increase amid deepening trade protectionism, Joo Hyung-chul, a government adviser for economic affairs, said at a press briefing.
The presidential aide said Seoul is seeking to strike respective deals with the three ASEAN nations before the summit in the southern port city of Busan.
Malaysia is the RoK’s fourth-largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, with two-way trading volume reached 19.2 billion USD in 2018.
The RoK has been making efforts to diversify its trading portfolio, especially amid the growing trade feud between the United States and China. The top two trading partners accounted for around 40 percent of the country’s annual outbound shipments in 2018.
The country’s exports sank 11.7 percent on-year in September, extending their slump to a 10th consecutive month, hurt by continued weak prices of semiconductors and the yearlong US-China trade war.
If all talks under way are successful, the RoK will have FTA deals with all of its top five trading partners in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Singapore./.
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