PUSAN (dpa) – South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye called Thursday for a more effective use of a free trade agreement between her country and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
South Korea and Asean are holding a summit Thursday and Friday in the South Korean port city of Pusan.
This year South Korea concluded Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with China, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam, Park said in aspeech to hundreds of business leaders from the region. South Korea’s FTA partners would now comprise 74 per cent of global GDP.
“Unfortunately, the utilization rate of the Korea-Asean FTA among Korean businesses is roughly half the level seen with other FTAs,” she said, according to the transcript provided by her office. She said that complicated rules of origin – which determine where a product comes from – are the primary reason for this.
“Business opportunities must be expanded through further liberalisation of trade through the FTA.” Park also called on the two FTA partners to go beyond the energy and manufacturing areas and expand their economic cooperation to services.
With their two-day-summit, the host nation South Korea and Asean want to commemorate 25 years of dialogue partnership. Asean is comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
The South Korea-Asean FTA on merchandise came into effect on June 1, 2007.
Asean has became South Korea’s second-largest trade partner, the third-biggest investment destination and the number one destination for South Korean travellers, attracting approximately 4.6 million visitors each year, the presidential Blue House in Seoul said.