S. Korea's decision to join CPTPP free trade agreement pushed back to early November
Updated: 2021-10-22 17:02:55 KST
South Korea has yet to officially decide whether it will join a free trade agreement signed by 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan and Australia.
The decision was initially scheduled to be made during an economic ministers' meeting next Monday but it's been pushed back to early November.
This comes as the issue requires a thorough review from several ministries, such as the Trade Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry.
A government official also said that the relevant ministries had to be briefed on the meeting held by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Washington last week.
This means that more time is needed for South Korean officials to discuss the matter before they can actually express interest in joining the Asia-Pacific trade deal.
Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said that the government is "seriously and actively considering" the issue.
While noting that there are areas where internal adjustments have to be made in order to join the trade pact the minister added that some revisions have already been made over the past two years.
His comment comes after China and Taiwan submitted formal requests to join the trade pact in recent weeks.
It's likely that Seoul will consider joining the free trade agreement as it will not want to be left out of a prosperous-looking deal signed by its Asian neighbors.
"After several rounds of review, I think the government will decide to join the trade pact this time. Regional trade agreements have become more important since the weakening of the World Trade Organization. And so in this respect, I think that the country should join the CPTPP."
Many others have also called for South Korea's application.
Wendy Cutler, the vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, said that the Asia-Pacific trade pact has reached a new turning point with applications from the UK, China and Taiwan.
She stressed that if Seoul does not want to stay outside of this important regional bloc, at a time when this progress is taking place, it should seriously consider joining the party.
Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Trade Centre, Deborah Elms also warned that the longer Seoul delays its decision, the greater the loss will be.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News.