South Korea, Thailand launch first round of talks for trade deal

TUESDAY, JULY 09, 2024

South Korea's trade ministry announced Tuesday that it has launched the first round of negotiations with Thailand to seek an Economic Partnership Agreement aimed at bolstering bilateral trade and investment.

The South Korean delegation, led by Deputy Minister for FTA Negotiations Roh Keon-ki, plans to discuss related matters with his counterpart, Chotima Iemsawasdikul, in Bangkok through Thursday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

An EPA is intended to establish a mutually beneficial trade network with partner nations beyond the simple market opening, though it covers a smaller scope of areas compared with a traditional free trade agreement.

Seoul and Bangkok declared the launch of negotiations in March.

"Although South Korea already holds trade agreements with Thailand under the South Korea-ASEAN FTA and the RCEP, there is still room for improvement in terms of bilateral trade and economic cooperation," Roh said.

He was referring to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, one of the world's biggest free trade agreements, with its 15 member nations accounting for around 30 per cent of the global gross domestic product.

"The EPA between South Korea and Thailand, tailored specifically for the two countries, will build policy grounds to advance the bilateral economic cooperation to another level," the deputy minister added.

The two countries will discuss promoting exchanges in a wide array of areas, including goods, services and investment, as well as the digital and government procurement sectors, the ministry said.

"Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia and the manufacturing hub of the region," the ministry said in a statement. "An EPA between South Korea and Thailand will bolster the competitiveness of South Korean goods and service exports compared to those from other rivals, such as Japan and China."


The Korea Herald

Asia News Network