Seoul looks into FTAs with more individual members of Asean

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Seoul looks into FTAs with more individual members of Asean

Korea is exploring the possibility of forging individual free trade deals with more Asean member states, a senior trade official has said, in a move to further boost growing economic ties with the region.

Korea has an FTA with the 10-member Asean, but Seoul has been pushing for separate free trade deals with individual members of the Southeast Asian bloc.

“We are reviewing the possibility of free trade agreements” with some of five countries - Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand - as part of efforts to promote bilateral economic cooperation, the official said in a recent brief comment to Yonhap News Agency.

The official, who is in charge of Korea’s free trade policy at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, declined to elaborate on specific countries that could be shortlisted for potential free trade deals with Korea.

Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Last month, Korea reached a preliminary agreement with Indonesia on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ahead of a final deal within this year.

Korea hopes to formally sign the deal with Indonesia early next year. The deal has to be ratified by the nations’ legislatures.

Korea is also pushing to clinch free trade deals with Malaysia and the Philippines by the end of the year.

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