President Moon Jae-in pledged Dec. 5 to expand South Korea‘s global free trade agreement network to boost its economic growth and fend off protectionism.
In an address to mark the Trade Day, Moon also pledged to ease regulations and enhance research and development for new technology industries and parts manufacturing.
“We will expand bilateral FTAs with Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, and Uzbekistan, along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is the world’s largest multilateral trade deal, and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Indonesia,” Moon said at a ceremony at Coex in southern Seoul.
RCEP is a mega Asia-Pacific trade pact among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and five partner countries, including Korea. They concluded negotiations last month. Korea also reached an FTA deal with Indonesia in October.
"We will also speed up our FTA talks with Mercosur, which is Latin America’s common market, so as to increase our FTA networks to account for 90 percent of the world‘s gross domestic product by 2022 from 77 percent,” he said.
Mercosur is an economic and political bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
He pledged to push for regulatory reforms needed to strengthen the competitiveness of new industries, including system semiconductors, bio health and future cars.
He hailed domestic materials, components and equipment manufacturers for laying the foundation for nation’s technological independence, in the midst of a trade row with Japan.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)