Hyun says Korea is ‘cautious’ on TPP talks

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Hyun says Korea is ‘cautious’ on TPP talks


Hyun Oh-seok, deputy prime minister for the economy, left, converses with Pat Gaines, chairman of Amcham Korea, at a meeting hosted by American Chamber of Commerce in Korea at the Grand Hyatt Seoul yesterday.[NEWSIS]

Hyun Oh-seok, finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy, said the government will cautiously consider participation in the U.S.-led Trans Pacific Partnership negotiation, which could become the world’s largest free-trade block.

“Regarding the U.S.-led TPP, Korea will comprehensively review current conditions of the negotiations, its effects on the Korean economy, developments of the Korea-China FTA, the China-Japan-Korea FTA and RCEP negotiations, and then cautiously determine Korea’s joining and the best timing,” Hyun said in an address at a meeting hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea at a hotel in central Seoul yesterday.

The TPP negotiations, first introduced in 2005 by Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei to form the world’s largest free trade band, now include 12 countries including the U.S., Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Canada and Japan, with an aim to reducing tariffs and pursue economic integration in the Asia-Pacific by 2015.

“With respect to this review, the Korean government hopes that relevant information is well shared,” Hyun added.

The minister said the Park Geun-hye government has reshuffled government organizations and more closely linked trade and industrial policy with an aim to carry out the country’s external and internal trade policies more effectively.

“Under the government’s new trade policy roadmap, Korea is to utilize its global FTA network, which covers 60 percent of the world economy, and to play a linchpin in connecting the integrated East Asian market and the trans-Pacific market,” he said.

Hyun praised the Korea-U.S. FTA for increasing the country’s exports to the U.S. by 10.4 percent and imports by 4.1 percent over the past year since it went into effect in March 2012.

“American businesses’ investment in Korea have increased by 113.6 percent on-year, reaching $4.5 billion. These achievements are attributable to your investments which well demonstrate your confidence in the Korean economy,” Hyun said. “I hope Amcham members will trust in the willingness and continue your investments in Korea.”

The minister said his focus to boost foreign investments is deregulation.

“Deregulation is the top priority on our economic policy. It is not only important for boosting foreign investments, but also for our economic recovery,” he said. “Korea is still considered not so friendly for investment.

“The government will lay out the second-phase measures this month, including introduction of the Asian Headquarters program,” he said.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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