Manila Times | Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Asean-Korea trade deal sealed soon
Angelo S. Samonte
MEMBER-COUNTRIES of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expect to conclude a free trade agreement with South Korea in a meeting to be held in the Philippines next month, the Department of Trade and Industry said.
The Asean-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), which includes provisions for trade in goods and dispute settlement, was signed during the parties’ Kuala Lumpur Summit last December.
The trade accord is expected to improve Philippine goods’ access to the Korean market, and boost shipbuilding and rail transport ventures in the Philippines, among others.
About 28 percent of the value of Philippine exports to Korea is still subject to significant tariffs.
Asean members would soon identify the goods that would be given referential treatment under the AKFTA during the 12th Asean economic ministers’ retreat and related meetings in the Philippines next month.
“The retreat could pave the way for the completion of the negotiations for the AKFTA, including the chapters and annexes of negotiated concessions for trade in services and cross-border investments by the time that the next ASEAN summit is held in December in the Philippines,” Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said.