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S. Korea to closely assess impact of RCEP on different industries

All News 11:00 November 26, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday vowed to carry out a thorough study on the impact of its largest-ever trade deal signed earlier this month and come up with supplementary measures in case the pact hurts sectors.

Earlier this month, members of ASEAN, along with its dialogue partners, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, inked the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The bloc accounts for one-third of the world's gross domestic product.

"The RCEP is expected to vitalize the nation's exports and speed up the country's New Southern Policy. This will help us to overcome jitters stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said in a statement.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Seoul has been rolling out the so-called New Southern Policy, which is aimed at bolstering Seoul's strategic and economic relations with Southeast Asian countries.

S. Korea to closely assess impact of RCEP on different industries - 1

The country, nevertheless, said it will make efforts to closely assess the impact of RCEP on different industries, including sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, and draw up measures to support them in case they face fallout.

"While some express concerns that the deal with Japan will lead to more imports of agricultural goods, we have reflected our views on the pact to protect the sensitive items," Sung said.

The RCEP marks the first free trade deal to be signed between South Korea and Japan.

Seoul and Tokyo have been at loggerheads since last year, after Japan abruptly imposed export restrictions of key industrial items against South Korea, citing security issues.

"Amid the growing external uncertainties after the U.S. presidential race, the global trade environment is anticipated to face more changes in terms of supply chains and digital transitions," Sung said. "We plan to cope with such issues through open-door policy and cooperation."
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