South Korea holds an active attitude to join CPTPP after RCEP

08:05 | 11/12/2020
After the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), South Korea - one of the largest, most important foreign investors in Vietnam – is showing interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
south korea holds an active attitude to join cptpp after rcep
After the RCEP, South Korea - one of the largest, most important foreign investors in Vietnam - shows an active attitude towards CPTPP. Photo: Moon Jae-in, South Korean president. Source: Yonhap

South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently revealed that the country could join another major global trade bloc – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – to further broaden the trade network of Asia’s No.4 economy.

“The wave of protectionism is likely to grow as countries compete more fiercely to gain the upper hand in the post-pandemic rebound,” Moon said at an event on Tuesday in Seoul. “It is critical that we diversify our markets.”

According to South Korean newswire Pulse, this is the first time that Moon has revealed Korea’s intention to join the CPTTP, a free-trade bloc previously led by the US Obama administration that was later abandoned by President Donald Trump. In 2018, it went into effect without the US, with the agreement signed by 11 countries, including Vietnam, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. The US is said to be mulling rejoining the bloc after the new administration to be led by Joe Biden taking office next year.

VIR also reported on the UK recently holding talks with all members of the CPTPP to discuss the UK's accession to the deal.

Elsewhere, China also holds an open and active attitude towards joining the CPTPP.

Last month, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the world’s biggest trade bloc – was finally signed by 15 countries, which includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the 10 members of ASEAN.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the RCEP is the first time that China has entered a non-bilateral free trade agreement of this scale. For China and Japan, Asia’s largest and second-largest economies, the RCEP is the first free trade agreement to connect them.

As of October 20, South Korea had about 8,900 valid projects in Vietnam with the total registered capital of $70.4 billion, ranking first in total accumulated registered capital and project numbers from overseas investors. However, funding by Vietnamese counterparts into South Korea has been modest, with only 49 valid projects registered at $35.24 million.

By Lam Tien

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