- Outcomes of ASEAN Ministers’ Meetings 2022-09-19
Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun attended the ASEAN Ministers’ Meetings held through September 16-18 in Siem Reap, Cambodia to discuss ROK-ASEAN FTA enhancement, industrial technology, digital, climate change response and RCEP utilization.
Minister Ahn also held bilateral talks with the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand on various trade issues and requested support for World EXPO 2030 Busan.
These ASEAN Ministerial meetings were the first in-person talks in three years since the COVID-19 outbreak, garnering much attention from the relevant international community.
During the 19th ROK-ASEAN Economy Ministers’ Meeting (September 16), South Korea and ASEAN agreed to continuously expand their collaboration projects in production technology and standardization. Moreover, they agreed to deepen trade and investments and reinforce their supply chain via responsible implementation of the ROK-ASEAN FTA (entered into force in 2009).
In particular, Minister Ahn’s proposal of a joint R&D for mid-to-long term industry and energy ODA projects, including TASK (Technology Advice and Solutions from Korea), was well received by numerous ASEAN countries. As the ROK-ASEAN Startups Policy Roadmap has been granted final approval, further cooperation of personnel exchange and business networking will be kicked into high gear.
Recognizing the substantial increase of trade and investment as a result of successful implementation of the ROK-ASEAN FTA, both sides agreed to engage in joint R&D for expansion of sensitive items’ free trade and scope of cooperation in response to global digital transition.
Trade Minister Ahn stated in his opening remarks that "close cooperation between South Korea and ASEAN must be strengthened in view of the recent rapid changes across the trade landscape as supply chain, digital transition, climate change response and such new trade issues emerge."
The joint statement of the 19th ROK-AEM Consultation is available in the link at the bottom of this page.
In the 25th ASEAN+3 Economy Ministers’ Meeting (September 17) that included South Korea, China and Japan, the 13 countries came together to review the outcomes of their economic cooperation work programs of 2021-2022, and determined the plans for 2023-2024.
Accordingly, the 13 countries will be reinforcing their cooperation on companies’ RCEP utilization, digital economy and SMEs’ prowess over the next two years.
They also exchanged views on the activities carried out by the East Asia Business Council (EABC) and companies’ policy recommendations regarding COVID-19, digital, RCEP and ESG.
In the 10th EAS Economy Ministers’ Meeting (September 17), the attending 18 countries shared opinions on the recent regional and global economic trends and developments.
Each country’s economy minister relayed a positive stance towards the ministerial declaration and agreement from the MC12 meetings held in June, and concurred that member states should expand cooperation for post-COVID recovery and implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Trade Minister Ahn emphasized South Korea’s active involvement in carbon neutrality by 2050, ROK-Singapore DPA signing by 2022, DEPA accession process and WTO negotiations on e-commerce.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Ministers’ Meeting (September 17) was held for the first time since its coming into force in February. This year marks the first year of RCEP’s coming into effect, as well as a full decade since start of negotiations in November 2012.
Talks focused on the establishment means of a Secretariat, subsidiary bodies and implementation system, in addition to RCEP’s role for restoring post-pandemic supply chain resilience.
Minister Ahn proposed joint projects for strengthening cooperation across the new trade landscape, which would encompass supply chain stabilization, digital transformation, SMEs’ competitiveness and climate change response.
Reminding of India’s potential contribution to intraregional trade and cooperation enhancement, the trade chief urged partner countries to encourage India’s RCEP participation.
On the sidelines, South Korea’s trade chief held bilateral talks with New Zealand’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford and Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade Tim Ayres, and discussed cooperation on key raw materials supply chain and international trade issues.
Korea and New Zealand meet on many common grounds, namely IPEF, DEPA, RCEP, CPTPP and the ROK-New Zealand FTA, which offers diverse opportunities for cooperation.
Korea is also closely collaborating with Australia in critical minerals and clean hydrogen, which are supply chain and clean economy pillars of IPEF.
Moreover, Korea’s delegation team met with counterparts from the Philippines and Singapore.
With the Philippines, discussions covered the supply chain MOU for core raw materials, ROK-Philippines FTA and renewable energy cooperation reinforcement, leaving anticipation for the ROK-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee Meeting slated for October in Seoul.
Meanwhile, Korea and Singapore agreed to further their joint efforts on digital and industrial technology cooperation.