South Korea and the Philippines are working on a free trade agreement (FTA). The two countries established their diplomatic relations 70 years ago.
South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee met with Filipino Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in Manila on April 17 and issued a joint statement on the issue. The two sides are planning to conclude the agreement during the South Korea-ASEAN summit in November this year.
“The Philippines is our fifth-largest trade partner in the ASEAN region and its trade surplus has been stable for long,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea explained, adding, “The FTA will be an important opportunity for more bilateral trade and investment.”
At present, South Korea is working on FTAs with Indonesia and Malaysia as well. Once the FTA with the Philippines is concluded, South Korea will be in free trade relations with each of its five largest trade partners in the ASEAN region.
The five countries are Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Last year, the bilateral trade volumes between South Korea and the five countries were US$68.3 billion, US$20 billion, US$19.8 billion, US$19.2 billion and US$15.6 billion, respectively.
South Korea’s FTAs with Vietnam and Singapore took effect in 2015 and 2006, respectively. Its negotiations with Indonesia resumed this year. South Korea and Malaysia are about to initiate joint research for their FTA.