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S. Korea seeks to sign over 10 free trade deals this year

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Yonhap | 11 January 2023

S. Korea seeks to sign over 10 free trade deals this year

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea will push to clinch free trade agreements (FTAs) with more than 10 nations and a trade promotion framework with over 20 nations this year in an effort to boost growth momentum and diversify its trade portfolio, the trade ministry said Wednesday.

During a trade advisory committee meeting, Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun announced the government’s plan to push for signing FTAs with at least 10 nations this year with a greater focus on strengthening cooperation in supply chains and other new trade issues, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The government will also seek to sign a Trade and Investment Promotion Framework, or TIPF, with more than 20 nations in 2023, in case signing a bilateral FTA is not allowed and a fresh momentum for strategic cooperation is needed, it added.

"We will seek a deal in the form of an Economic Partnership Agreement, rather than seeking traditional FTAs, to establish a mutually beneficial trade network with partner nations beyond a simple market opening," a ministry official said.

As a major plan in the trade field for this year, the government also vowed to actively take part in ongoing negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to draw tangible results and to wrap up talks for joining the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in the first quarter of this year.

The DEPA, which came into effect in January last year, is an agreement signed by Singapore, New Zealand and Chile on digital trade issues, such as digital identities, cross-border data flows and artificial intelligence. It is the world’s first multilateral digital pact.

"South Korea will enhance our trade coalition across the globe to diversify the exports market and supply chains amid multiple economic challenges. We will also create favorable business circumstances to attract more foreign investment and become a global industry hub through deregulation and more incentives," the ministry said in a release.

 source: Yonhap