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S. Korea, Philippines vow to conclude FTA in early 2020

According to Yonhap News,

BUSAN, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the Philippines agreed on Monday to conclude their free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in the first half of 2020, Seoul's trade ministry said.

South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and her counterpart Ramon Lopez signed a joint statement during a meeting held in the southern port city of Busan, acknowledging the two countries have already made substantial progress in concluding a bilateral FTA.

The declaration came on the sidelines of the special group summit between South Korea and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is underway in this southern port city.

The two countries held their first official negotiations in June and have since held a total of four rounds of negotiations.

The Philippines agreed to lift barriers for South Korean auto parts, pharmaceutical goods and petrochemical products. In return, Seoul agreed to open the market for bananas and clothes.

South Korea has a comprehensive FTA with ASEAN but is currently seeking to sign separate deals with its top-five trading partners in Southeast Asia to further eliminate barriers.

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Source: Yonhap News (Nov.25, 2019)

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