S. Korea seeks support from regional partners for its bid to join CPTPP

SEOUL-- South Korea sought support from regional trading partners for the country's bid to join a mega free trade deal in the Asia-Pacific region, the industry ministry said Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the country's trade minister Yeo Han-koo met ambassadors to Seoul from 10 member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The CPTPP involves 11 nations, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Vietnam, and the Japanese envoy to Seoul appeared to have not attended the meeting, according to officials.

Last week, Seoul announced its decision to join as part of efforts to deepen economic cooperation with regional partners and to diversify its trade portfolio.

The CPTPP accounted for around 15 percent of the world's total trade volume of US$5.2 trillion as of 2020.

"South Korea's envisioned entry into the CPTPP is expected to contribute to stable supply chains in the region and to help make the platform more open, transparent and inclusive," Yeo told the envoys, asking for their continued attention and backing.

The ambassadors said South Korea is a promising, qualified candidate, and voiced support for Seoul's decision to join the pact.

The government has sought to submit an application in April, but that seems unlikely as due domestic procedures, including reporting the case to the National Assembly, have been delayed, according to ministry officials.

"We will strive to wrap up necessary procedures at home in a swift manner," Yeo said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency