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Korea holds public hearing on entering EPAs with 7 countries 2023-08-28

The Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) held a public hearing on August 25 at Hotel Koreana in Seoul to gather public opinion concerning the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with seven nations, namely Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Thailand, Pakistan, Serbia and the Dominican Republic.

MOTIE’s Deputy Minister for FTA Negotiations Roh Keon-ki stated in the opening message that “based on the experience of establishing a trade network consisting of 21 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 59 countries, the plan is to push forward EPAs with emerging countries with demand for mutually beneficial cooperation and high growth potential.”

During the first half of this year, MOTIE conducted evaluations with research institutes like Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) to assess the economic feasibility of entering EPAs with the seven countries. Evaluation results indicate that Korea can expect to gain export growth and stabilization of the critical minerals and resources supply chain.

An expert panel attending the public hearing highlighted that “the U.S. and EU are likewise signing trade agreements and operating summit-level consultative channels based on their high expectations of African nations’ potential,” and added that “as nations entering EPAs are regional hubs, Korea can exert wider influence on surrounding countries by entering the agreements.”

MOTIE is in the process of discussing EPAs with 10 countries for strengthening global trade solidarity, and Mongolia and Georgia are two countries with which negotiation plans were completed in April. Negotiation plans for EPAs with the above seven countries will be established based on opinions gathered from this public hearing.