The South Korean government is set to review whether to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has Japan, Australia, and others as its members. As the new U.S. administration to be led by President-elect Joe Biden is likely to return to the agreement, the South Korean government is trying to respond to the new trade order.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s international economic policies for 2021, which includes the above, were announced at a ministerial meeting on international economy policies presided by the Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki. The CPTPP joined by 11 countries used to have the U.S. as one of its members but President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement. As it was revealed that the Biden administration with an emphasis on multilateral trading order is reviewing the possibility to return to the agreement, the South Korean government started to do the same. Even President Moon said that joining the CPTPP will be actively considered at his New Year’s speech.
The government, which put the first priority among 10 strategic goals for international economic policies on CPTPP membership, will actively participate in the new trading order and expand the export market. It will also improve regulations in four major trading areas – hygiene and quarantine, subsidies for marine products, digital trading, and state-run businesses. “Infrastructure and procedures will be prepared by area to meet the requirements of CPTPP,” said a member of the government.
Furthermore, the government will also begin preparing for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was finalized and signed in November last year. The RCEP is the world’s biggest free trade agreement with 15 member countries, including South Korea, China, Japan, 10 ASEAN member states, Australia, and New Zealand. The South Korean government will complete preparation in the first half of this year and proceed with a procedure to obtain the National Assembly’s agreement for its ratification in the second half.