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Trade Minister chairs 33rd Trade Promotion Committee meeting 2023-05-04

Minister for Trade Dukgeun Ahn chaired the 33rd Trade Promotion Committee (the “Committee”) meeting on May 1 at the Government Complex Sejong and led discussions on plans for the third round of official negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), ninth official Korea-Ecuador Strategic Economic Cooperation Agreement (SECA) negotiation round outcomes, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers’ meeting preparations and progress on internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) of industrial energy sectors.

Minister Ahn noted that “a trade order can be seen forming around the Indo-Pacific region to respond to new trade agendas, including supply chain, high-tech race and digital green transition.”

In this vein, he stated that “on the occasion of President Yoon’s state visit to the U.S. last week, Korea and the U.S. held the Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue (SCCD) and announced a joint ministerial statement on minimizing uncertainties of corporate investments and business burdens, and firms entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the battery, bio and clean energy sectors for cooperation with the U.S. in high-tech industries,” adding that international cooperation is all the more critical for responding to these emerging trade issues.

Regarding the accelerating pace of IPEF negotiations, he said that “all ministries will give full measure to participate in the process of establishing trade rules to see swift progress.”

The third round of official IPEF negotiations will be held in Singapore on May 8-15, for which the Committee has reviewed Korea’s stance on each of the four pillars, namely trade, supply chain, clean economy and fair economy. To make sure that IPEF is established as an effective economic cooperation platform for the Indo-Pacific region’s supply chain stabilization and clean energy transition, MOTIE stated that efforts will be made to seek mutually beneficial cooperation among participating nations.

During the Committee meeting, outcomes of the ninth round of official SECA negotiations between the Korean and Ecuadorian delegations were also shared with relevant ministries. Korea has been engaging in negotiations with Ecuador since 2015 to a enter free trade agreement (FTA), and the two countries were able to work out much of their differences in opinion on opening up markets for respective items of interest.

Next, ministries reviewed plans for the upcoming APEC trade ministers’ meeting (May 25-26) in Detroit, U.S., in which 21 nations will be participating.

As this year’s Chair, the U.S. has presented the following two agendas in relation to the emerging trade issues of supply chain, digital and carbon neutrality: 1) strengthening the role of the multilateral trade system and 2) advancing sustainable and inclusive trade.

In the APEC trade ministers’ meeting, MOTIE will be introducing Korea’s policies and efforts toward World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and propose directions for international cooperation. It is likely that bilateral talks with major countries will be held on the sidelines as well.

The last Committee agenda was ITMOs, which provide trade and investment opportunities to companies partaking in carbon reduction businesses in promising markets. MOTIE aims to uncover promising projects for fulfilling ITMO goals and expand the scope of pilot projects. Entering bilateral MOUs with cooperating countries and building more net zero support centers are additional measures to strengthen international cooperation for the smooth execution of projects.