THE Philippines and South Korea agreed to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to strengthen economic ties and expand trade between the two countries.
In a meeting held in Manila last Wednesday, April 17, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee declared their readiness to commence negotiations upon the completion of their respective domestic procedures.
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 Philippines and South Korea reached US$13.7 billion in 2018, making South Korea the fifth largest trading partner of the Philppines.
The country’s top exports to South Korea include bananas, pineapples and copper. Philippine imports mainly industrial products from Korea. Investments from South Korea in 2019 totaled $35.79 million, primarily on real estate activities and manufacturing.
The Philippines and South 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 and announce the conclusion of the FTA negotiations. (PR)