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Yonhap | 6 April 2020
S. Korea, Indonesia vow to ink FTA amid virus pandemic
SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea and Indonesia on Monday agreed to hold a signing ceremony of their bilateral free trade deal in the near future to quickly implement it in a way that helps minimize the economic fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic.
"The international community must join forces to sustain the global supply chain and to ensure the travel of vital business officials," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during a videoconference with her Indonesian counterpart Airlangga Hartarto.
In line with efforts to overcome the economic jitters, the two countries agreed to hold a signing ceremony of the much-awaited Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) at the earliest date possible after the situation is stabilized, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Seoul and Jakarta struck the deal in November last year with a goal of holding an official signing ceremony in the first half of 2020 to pave the way for the official implementation.
The CEPA is equivalent to a free trade agreement but focuses on a broader scope of economic cooperation. The two resumed their FTA negotiations in 2019 after a hiatus of five years.
The latest COVID-19 pandemic, which has been disturbing international travel and business exchanges, apparently has made some adjustments in the remaining timetable inevitable.
Yoo also requested Jakarta to lend hands to South Korean businesses based in Indonesia that are suffering from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.