Seoul (VNA) – The Republic of Korea's trade ministry has launched talks with ASEAN to upgrade their free trade agreement (FTA) and further lower trade barriers, as the country seeks to diversify its trade portfolio and expand its presence in Southeast Asia.
Officials from the two sides held a virtual meeting to discuss ways to expand their bilateral economic ties, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on July 27.
The RoK, Asia’s fourth largest economy, and ASEAN implemented their FTA in 2007.
Outbound shipments to ASEAN stood at 89 billion USD last year, also rising from 32.1 billion USD tallied in 2006.
The RoK and ASEAN have agreed to further lower trade barriers in 2016, but related talks have been delayed as they decided to focus on clinching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The RCEP covers ASEAN and its dialogue partners – the RoK, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The participants currently await the official launch of the deal, which was signed in November 2020. The signatories expect the trade deal will enter into force on January 1, 2022.
The latest move comes in line with the RoK’s efforts to diversify its trade portfolio and cope with the growing protectionism around the globe.
The country currently depends on China and the United States for around 40 percent of its exports./.
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