President Moon has wrapped up four days of diplomacy with the members of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
On Sunday, they and several other countries in the Asia-Pacific region signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s biggest free trade bloc.
Kim Min-ji reports.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP was signed Sunday by 15 member states in the Asia-Pacific region.
Those include the 10 ASEAN members plus South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
It becomes the largest free trade pact in the world accounting for about 30 percent of the global economy and population.
“During summit talks before the signing, President Moon said that he is certain that RCEP will contribute to restoring multilateralism not only in the region, but around the world, and to developing an order of free trade. The president added that he will work together with the member states to make RCEP a joint community for co-prosperity that leads the post-COVID-19 era.”
In a joint statement, the signatories welcomed the deal, saying it reflects their strong commitment to supporting an economic recovery and job creation.
They added that it’s an important step towards an ideal framework for global trade and investment. and that RCEP will open a vast range of opportunities for businesses located in the region.
The members also left the door open to India which backed out of the deal because of concerns it would hurt its domestic industry and agriculture.
The pact will see a significant elimination of tariffs as it aims to liberalize trade in goods and services, investment, economic and technical cooperation.
South Korea’s top office expects RCEP to support the Moon administration’s New Southern Policy, which seeks to deepen ties with regional partners.
President Moon expressed hope that through RCEP member states will be able to accelerate their cooperation and exchanges and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together. Now they have to complete their domestic ratification procedures for the mega deal to take effect.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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