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Seoul to consider joining Pacific trade pact: minister

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said Friday that the government needs to carefully review Korea’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership called TPP, a U.S.-led move to create a free trade bloc linking Pacific Rim states.

Speaking at a meeting with trade-related ministers, Hyun said it is necessary for the government to express interest in the participation in the TPP and to hold bilateral preliminary consultations with the participating countries.

The U.S. has spearheaded efforts to conclude the TPP, for which currently 12 countries including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Australia have been in negotiations.

“The government also should initially collect a variety of information on the pact before deciding whether to launch the talks,” Hyun said.

Hyun, however, hinted that the nation could embark on preliminary negotiations with Pacific Rim countries as early as next year. The TPP has taken political overtones as Beijing views it as part of Washington’s moves to counter its rise.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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