Business Korea | 24 March 2022
South Korea’s CPTPP membership application being delayed
By Jung Suk-yee
South Korea’s application for Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) membership is likely to become possible in June, two months behind schedule. This is because farmers and fishermen are strongly opposed to it and the government is in a transition period.
Groups of farmers and fishermen are planning to stage a large-scale demonstration next month in order to urge the government not to apply. According to the government, lawmakers in related constituencies are likely to join them and related parliamentary procedures required before the application may be delayed. In addition, the application is not one of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s top priorities and local elections are scheduled for June.
The problem is that the government’s opportunity cost is proportional to the delay. The CPTPP ensures a very high level of market opening and Japan and Australia are already increasing their presence in Southeast Asian markets by utilizing the agreement.
The significance of the agreement further increased recently as China and Taiwan knocked on the door. Especially, the latter, a global semiconductor industry leader, is aiming to further dominate the industry based on the CPTPP after having been hindered by China in terms of FTA conclusion.