SEJONG — South Korea and the Philippines agreed on Monday to further expand their economic cooperation and work together for an early conclusion of a regional economic trade deal, Seoul’s finance ministry said.

In a meeting with the Philippines’ Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, South Korea’s chief economic policymaker Kim Dong-yeon gave high marks to the Asian country’s massive infrastructure development project and said Seoul will actively support such projects through extended financial help.

Kim and Dominguez shared the view that bilateral trade should be further extended, and agreed to work together to accelerate the process of clinching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership , a proposed mega trade deal involving Asian nations.

RCEP is in essence a massive regional trade deal between 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the six countries with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements — South Korea, China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Their meeting came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are set to hold a summit later in the day.

Duterte arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day visit. He is the first head of state from an Association of Southeast Asian Nations  member country to visit South Korea since Moon took office in May last year.

Bilateral trade reached $14.29 billion last year, up 36.1 percent from a year earlier, with exports to the Asian country rising 45.6 percent on-year to reach $10.59 billion.

Seoul’s trade surplus reached $6.89 billion last year.(Yonhap)