South Korea’s trade ministry said Thursday it is reviewing joining a mega free trade pact comprising Asia-Pacific countries in line with its goal to play a leading role in trade in the region.
“South Korea is considered an ideal partner for the CPTPP in terms of its competitiveness in different industries and technologies,” Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo said during a meeting with local trade experts.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is the renegotiated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) led by the former US President Barack Obama administration but abandoned by his successor, Donald Trump.
Eleven countries, including Japan, are currently participating in the mega trade deal.
South Korea has not yet openly made the decision to join the CPTPP, but it has been closely monitoring related situations, including possible membership of China and Taiwan.
Earlier this month, China and Taiwan applied to join the Pacific trade pact.
Yeo said South Korea plans to make its final decision on whether to join the trade pact at the period when “the country can maximize its benefit.”
“The pact is also valuable for the country’s vision to gain leadership in trade in the Asia-Pacific region and to further develop its supply chains,” the minister added.
The government will continue to gather opinions from local businesses and experts to cope with the changing global business environment, he said.
South Korea has been making efforts to expand trade ties with partners from the Asian-Pacific region to diversify its export portfolio.
It is currently awaiting the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was inked in November 2020. The deal, which is expected to be implemented next year, covers the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier this month, South Korea also delivered its intention
to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). The deal, which
comprises Singapore, New Zealand and Chile, went into effect in January this
year. It is the first multilateral pact that covers digital trade issues.