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Trade Minister holds 28th Trade Promotion Committee meeting 2022-07-06

Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun held the 28th Trade Promotion Committee meeting on July 5 at the Government Complex Sejong in the presence of eight relevant ministries to discuss the new regime’s new trade directions, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) implementation and climate change impact on trade and necessary countermeasures.

In his opening remarks, Minister Ahn stated that his focus over the past three weeks had been on the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), Korea-EU Trade Ministerial Meeting and efforts for promotion of World EXPO 2030 Busan.

Regarding the MC12 meeting, which had been held after a long five-year hiatus, he noted that discussions on heated issues like pandemic response, food security, fisheries subsidies, and digital trade had served to shape the directions for future multilateral trade and related rules.

Moreover, he added that efforts are being made through talks with the EU and other major countries to resolve difficulties Korean companies face in overseas markets and also to promote Busan as host for World EXPO 2030, and assured that all ministries are committed to striving as “one team” for Korean companies’ global competitiveness and national interest.

Addressing the agenda items, Trade Minister stated that the new regime’s trade policies will be developed and announced within a suitable time frame.

As for IPEF, he mentioned that implementation planning will revolve around joint public-private strategy meetings, and that the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) is committed to continuing close communication with industry insiders and experts in formulating South Korea’s stance on key matters.

On climate change response, he noted its gravity in global business and remarked that the Ministry will be invested in global efforts toward carbon neutral and in supporting Korean companies’ overcoming various difficulties.

Concerning the abovementioned first agenda item, President Yoon Suk-yeol and his administration have decided to pursue a “new industry and trade strategy to strengthen industrial competitiveness and supply chain.” Inter-ministerial talks on the changing trade landscape were held during the meeting, and these talks will continue on to co-develop effective trade policies.

The second agenda item was IPEF implementation plans. Since its launch in May, participating countries have carried on discussions regarding their agendas and future timelines.

Climate change response is now among priority agenda items of many major countries, and also underway are discussions for new rules. As a responsible member of the international community, South Korea plans to carry out carbon neutral goals and participate in discussions, while also considering national interest and providing internal support.

Accordingly, the following are outlines of Korea’s plans on climate change response.

Trade: Make sure trade laws are in line with WTO’s rules as well as other countries’ environment measures (e.g., EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)) so as to mitigate discriminatory factors. South Korea will negotiate actively with EU and other countries.

Plurilateral cooperation: Seeing that new trade rules can be born out of IPEF, Korea plans to first thoroughly assess the opportunity and cost factors.

International organizations: Consider options of working in tandem with nations expressing similar stance when participating in WTO, OECD and such bodies, and clearly express Korea’s position on key agendas.

Corporate support: Share and update environment-related trade measures and rules through frequent communication with industries and help bolster their response capacity. Creating a life-cycle inventory (LCI) database system is one example.

As IPEF will be covering a wider extent of issues other than supply chain and digital, the Ministry intends to identify those that are relevant to Korean industries in order to lead active discourse.