16 March 2021 – SEOUL
South Korea on Tuesday said it will open new facilities overseas to help exporters better capitalize on free trade agreements (FTA) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the plan, the country plans to spend 11.9 billion won (US$10.4 million) this year to open new FTA support centers in Southeast Asia and provide customized consulting programs, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The country currently operates 18 FTA support centers for exporters nationwide, along with 15 others overseas.
South Korea currently has FTAs with 17 countries or regional blocs, including the United States, the European Union (EU) and ASEAN.
Asia’s No. 4 economy currently awaits the implementation of a set of FTAs, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers ASEAN and its dialogue partners — South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
South Korea and Indonesia also signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) last year, which now awaits parliamentary approval. The CEPA is equivalent to a free trade agreement but focuses on a broader scope of economic cooperation.
In 2020, the country’s outbound shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from 2019. South Korea’s central bank expects outbound shipments to rebound to 7.1 percent this year.