S Korea to cautiously determine on joining TPP

Updated: 2013-07-05 16:28


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SEOUL - South Korea's top economic policymaker said Friday that Seoul will cautiously determine when and whether to join the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade pact in the Pacific region, after reviewing its effect on the economy and developments of free trade deal with China.

"Regarding the US-led TPP, Korea will comprehensively review current conditions of the negotiation, its effects on the Korean economy, developments of Korea-China FTA, China-Japan-Korea FTA and RCEP, and then cautiously determine Korea's joining and the best timing," Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Oh-seok said at a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Korea.

Hyun noted that South Korea wanted to play a linchpin in connecting the integrated East Asian market and the Trans-Pacific market, saying it will utilize its global FTA network which covers 60 percent of the world economy.

In June, South Korea unveiled a new roadmap for trade policy under the Park Geun-hye government. Under the road map, Seoul aimed to become a linchpin of the regional economic integration in East Asia through a new FTA with China and the already singed deal with the US

South Korea signed FTAs with the US and Europe, which took effect in 2012 and 2011 respectively. Minister Hyun said that the South Korea-US FTA contributed much to expanding bilateral trade, with mutual exports and imports for items benefited by the FTA rising 10.4 percent and 4.1 percent respectively over the year.

Seoul planned to conclude ongoing trade deals such as the bilateral agreement with China and the trilateral pact with China and Japan at an earliest possible date, while seeking actively participating in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP is a multilateral FTA that will include China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as India, Australia and New Zealand.

Based on the FTAs with China and the US, Seoul aimed to play a role in linking the RCEP with the US-led TPP, which is under negotiation between the US and Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, Peru, Chile and Mexico.