MANILA—The Philippines and South Korea have agreed to work together for the conclusion of ASEAN-led trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
South Korea’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) Joo Hyunghwan visited Manila on Monday and met Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, wherein the two trade ministers discussed strengthening economic ties to advance free flow of trade and investment in the region.
“DTI imparted to the South Korea side its priorities as chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting, including the desire to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will link ASEAN, an economic powerhouse with a market of 600 million people, to its six Dialogue Partners, creating a bigger market of 3.5 billion people,” DTI said in a statement on Thursday.
Earlier, DTI’s Lopez noted that the RCEP was eyed for conclusion during the country’s hosting of ASEAN summit this year.
RCEP targets for a free trade agreement (FTA) in goods and services as well as liberalizing flow of investments among the 10 ASEAN member-countries and its FTA partners including Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Japan, and India.
On the other hand, Joo sought the country’s support to fast track the completion of ASEAN-Korea FTA (AKFTA) to boost economic ties between the two parties.
Through the AKFTA, which took effect in 2007, trade between ASEAN and South Korea has nearly doubled from USD 62 billion in 2006 to USD 119 billion in 2016.
Prior Joo’s visit to Manila, the Korean trade minister went to Singapore to meet his counterpart Lim Hong Kiang last week. Likewise, Joo pursues stronger ties between ASEAN and the East Asian country under the AKFTA.