South Korea officially announced the start of free trade agreement negotiations with the Philippines on June 3 as part of efforts to strengthen economic ties with the Southeast Asian country.
During a meeting here, Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and her Philippine counterpart Ramon Lopez set the goal of completing the free trade negotiations by November this year, in tune with Korea’s summit with ASEAN countries here.
“By removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers, the FTA will also further promote the economic cooperation between the two countries,” Yoo said.
Trade volume between the two has been expanding sharply over the past years, reaching US$15.6 billion in 2018, up 67 percent from $9.3 billion posted in 2010, according to Seoul’s Trade Ministry.
Korea’s exports to the Philippines reached $12 billion in 2018, up 13.6 percent from a year earlier. The Southeast Asian country is Korea’s fifth-largest trading partner among the ASEAN countries.
Semiconductors, petrochemical goods and automobiles were among major export products. In return, Korea mostly imports agricultural products from the Philippines, the ministry said.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)