Philippines, Korea launch Free Trade Agreement
By Monsi A. Serrano
To strengthen the 70 years diplomatic relationships, both Philippines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) agreed to pursue a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with a view to further enhance the economic ties and expand trade between the two countries.
In a meeting held last April 17, 2019, PH Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and ROK Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee declared their readiness to commence negotiations upon the completion of their respective domestic procedures. And once concluded, the bilateral FTA will pave the way for an enhanced market access for products of interest of the two countries. It is also viewed that the agreement will provide a more stable and predictable economic environment necessary to generate more trade and investments.
Merchandise trade between the PH and ROK reached USD 13.7 billion in 2018, making ROK as the 5th largest trading partner of PH. PH’s top exports to ROK include bananas, pineapples, copper. PH imports mainly industrial products from ROK. Investments from ROK in 2019 totaled USD 35.79 million, primarily on real estate activities and manufacturing.
The Philippines and Republic of Korea share longstanding ties characterized by mutual trust and support since the Korean war. The two countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations in November 2019 and announce the conclusion of the FTA negotiations and a joint statement was issued for the said bilateral Free Trade Agreement.
Both Minister Yoo and Secretary Lopez are pleased to announce that the Republic of Korea and the Republic of the Philippines confirmed their common understanding to pursue a bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. The two countries have agreed to put their best effort to conclude the negotiations in time for the 2019 ROK-ASEAN Commemorative Summit scheduled in November 2019. The two countries will commence the negotiations upon the completion of required domestic procedures.