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19th Korea-ASEAN FTA Implementation Committee Meeting 2022-07-28

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) held the 19th Korea-ASEAN FTA Implementation Committee Meeting on July 27 to discuss the furthering of free trade agreements (FTAs) and new trade order issues.

MOTIE was represented by a 12-member delegation consisting of officials from relevant ministries and institutions, including MOTIE, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Korea Customs Service (KCS).

The ASEAN delegation was composed of representatives of its 10 member states and ASEAN Secretariat officials.

South Korea is ASEAN’s second largest trade partner (USD 176.5 billion in trade as of 2021) and third biggest investor, and since the 2007 Korea-ASEAN FTA enforcement, trade volume between the two regions has jumped 2.9 times (exports by 3.4 times, imports by 2.3 times), and investment in ASEAN has more than doubled.

Moreover, in view of the “joint research for Korea-ASEAN FTA (signed in 2006) advancement” ongoing amid the enforcement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, the 19th meeting also covered comparisons of FTA and RCEP concessions.

South Korean delegates raised the issue of amending rules on country-of-origin (COO) as well as enhancing rules related to products, services and investment, and proposed for cooperation in digital trade, supply chain stabilization and food security.

The need for a “digital treaty” was raised based on digital policy analyses, which would entail mutual cooperation across various sectors. This would also mean adding a digital chapter to the Korea-ASEAN FTA framework so as to support the ASEAN market penetration of domestic companies.

Further talks covered the prospects of holding a COO subcommittee meeting in the second half of 2022 to address challenges faced by export companies. In addition, the Korea-ASEAN economic cooperation working group and new projects review were mentioned, touching upon topics like conversion of COO rules to HS 2022, bolstering electrical safety management capacity for ASEAN’s new and renewable energy generators, critical crops seminar for ASEAN youth, and more.

 

Noting that 16 years have passed since signing the Korea-ASEAN FTA, which is Korea’s fourth, MOTIE stated that efforts will be made to incorporate trade landscape shifts into the FTA to render it continually beneficial for companies.