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Korea attends 2nd RCEP Joint Committee meeting 2022-08-26

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on August 25 the launching of the 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Joint Committee Meeting, which was attended by approximately 40 persons from 14 member states via videoconferencing.

The Korean government delegation is led by Lee Kyung-sik, MOTIE’s Director General for FTA Negotiations and includes officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) and Korea Customs Service (KCS).

This meeting is the official implementation meeting following the first joint Committee session convened on April 26, and member states discussed measures for RCEP implementation and stronger cooperation through the partnership.

Specific topics covered by member states are 1) RCEP Secretariat Office establishment 2) updating the HS code for tariff reduction schedule and product specific rules and 3) Joint Committee work plans and various other RCEP implementation issues.

Attendees also exchanged their experiences in relation to ideas for achieving effective RCEP implementation and supporting SMEs’ utilization of RCEP.

To India, which had announced withdrawal from RCEP, member states reconfirmed that participation is still possible and went over the “India Participation Procedure Rules,” which stipulate that doors are open for India’s engagement in the Joint Committee and other collaboration projects.

The matters addressed during this Committee meeting are to be finalized for selection by the 15 member states’ trade ministers during the RCEP Ministerial Meeting slated for September 18.

MOTIE is currently running various programs to assist companies’ efforts to utilize RCEP on a greater scale. For example, 165 companies registered for “OK FTA Consulting” site-visit consulting services and 40 “Briefing Relays” were held during the first half of 2022.

In addition, KCS and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) distributed the “RCEP Implementation Guidelines” and “Practical Guidebook to RCEP”, respectively, so that corporations can easily access the benefits of the partnership. Plans are also underway for “FTA Overseas Support Centers” to provide seamless assistance.