UPDATE : 2019.11.12 TUE 09:48
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Asia-Pacific trade deal to improve S. Korea's exports environment: minister

A mega Asia-Pacific trade pact will improve South Korea's exports environment, the country's industry ministry said Tuesday.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will improve South Korean companies' access to markets in the region, according to Sung Yun-mo, minister of trade, industry and energy, in a meeting with officials and business leaders.

In October, South Korea's exports plunged 14.7 percent from a year earlier, extending their slump to an 11th consecutive month.

His comments came a day after South Korea, China, Japan and their 12 other regional partners reached a deal on the pact in Bangkok as part of annual regional meetings hosted by ASEAN.

The agreement involves Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The RCEP will herald a mega economic bloc that accounts for half of the world's population and one-third of the total gross domestic product across the globe.

South Korean Industry Minister Sung Yu-mo speaks during a meeting with scholars and officials over the envisioned Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact in Seoul, on Nov. 5, 2019. (Yonhap)

The 15 RCEP nations have completed text-based negotiations on all 20 chapters and market access matters. They aim to sign a formal accord in 2020.

Sung said a chapter on e-commerce in the RCEP could help South Korean companies make inroads into booming e-commerce markets in the Asian countries.

South Korea has sought stronger economic ties with Southeast Asian countries to reduce its heavy reliance on large markets, like the United States and China, and to foster new growth drivers.

South Korea has clinched a series of free trade agreements with major trading partners, including the U.S. and China, as well as Chile, Peru, Colombia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in recent years as part of its efforts to boost the country's export-driven economy and diversify its export markets. (Yonhap)

Song Na-Ra  edt@koreapost.com

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