South Korea is considering joining a fledgling Pacific trade pact led by Japan, called the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).” “We will actively deal with the growing trade protectionism by proactively joining a multilateral trade pact,” Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an economy-related ministers meeting Tuesday. “We will create new momentum for economic growth by using G20 diplomacy, the Pacific Alliance (PA), and the CPTPP.”
Signed by 11 countries including Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Singapore, the CPTPP aims to slash tariffs on goods and integrate the economies in the Asia Pacific region. The agreement started as a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) under the leadership of the United States and Japan in 2015, but with Washington leaving the pact last year, it was renamed the CPTPP. The PA is a Latin American trade bloc that includes Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Chile.
The South Korean government originally planned to decide whether to join the trade pact within the first half of the year, but had to delay its decision due to concerns that domestic manufacturers will suffer a heavy blow once the nation joins the CPTPP as Japanese companies will be allowed to export their goods with low or no tariff.