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RCEP mega free trade pact takes effect for S. Korea

All News 14:38 February 01, 2022

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- The mega free trade pact called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) took effect for South Korea on Tuesday, which is expected to help diversify the country's trade portfolio, Seoul's industry ministry said.

In November 2020, South Korea inked the trade deal with 14 other countries -- 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- and the National Assembly ratified the pact in December last year.

It came into force on Tuesday, 60 days after the government submitted the parliamentary approval to the Secretariat, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

RCEP is the world's biggest FTA, as the 15 member countries account for around 30 percent of global gross domestic product, population and trade volume, government data showed.

The pact officially went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, for some countries, in accordance with a rule that it shall enter into force as at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN nations submit the ratification after wrapping up their due domestic procedures.

"It is expected to help our companies' advance into overseas markets, as it expands the market for our key export items, including steel and cars, as well as such service sectors as online gaming, animation, film, and music," the ministry said.

The combined amount of South Korea's exports to the RCEP participants came to US$254.3 billion in 2020, taking up around half of the country's total outbound shipments, according to the data.

It is also the first free trade agreement that involves South Korea and Japan, the ministry said.

This pool photo, taken on Dec. 2, 2021, shows the electronic signboard at the National Assembly in Seoul showing lawmakers' voting results on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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