The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy announced on July 22 that the 23rd round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) takes place in Bangkok from July 23 to 27. The RCEP is a mega free trade agreement (FTA) among the 10 ASEAN member countries, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India.
The South Korean delagation has about 70 members, led by the ministry’s FTA policy director Kim Jong-il. The 16 members of the RCEP promised to reach an agreement within this year at their ministerial meeting held in Tokyo on July 1.
In the upcoming talks, they are going to concentrate their discussions on commodity, service and investment market opening while trying to reach a conclusion in the fields related to rules of origin, customs clearance and intellectual property rights.
The RCEP has a significant meaning for South Korea in that it covers key parts of the South Korean government’s New Southern Policy, such as the ASEAN region and India. In addition, it covers half of the world’s population and one-third of the total GDP of the world.