FTAs hailed as success, and more are planned

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FTAs hailed as success, and more are planned

Korea’s Industry Ministry on Monday announced its blueprint to expand the country’s free-trade agreement (FTA) network with emerging countries as it marks the 15th anniversary of signing its first pact with Chile.

“Korea has engaged in various negotiations simultaneously, allowing the country to establish an FTA network encompassing 77 percent of the world’s combined gross domestic product, including the United States and China,” Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during the commemorative event.

On the back of the country’s strong network of FTAs, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Korea became the world’s seventh country to post total exports of $600 billion.

A ministry survey showed 88 percent of Koreans claimed they were able to access a wider scope of products due to FTAs, the ministry claimed.

The ministry said Korea will continue to make efforts to expand its trade network, especially in Southeast and Central Asia in line with the New Southern and Northern Policies, which are designed to bolster ties with countries in those regions.

The country will seek to sign FTAs with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Russia, the ministry said.

Korea will also actively engage in the establishment of global systems in emerging industries, such as digital commerce, and build an environment in which new growth engines can thrive without obstacle, as well as utilize FTAs to ease regulations.

Yoo highlighted the importance of following up on the impact of FTAs with attention being paid to vulnerable sectors of the Korean economy.

Accordingly, the ministry said it plans to expand consulting programs for industries that could feel the pinch of a more open trade and better reflect the voices of small- and medium-sized companies in future negotiations.

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