New Zealand’s top envoy in Seoul said on Oct. 25 she hopes South Korea will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling the country a “natural partner.”
New Zealand is one of 12 countries that have joined what is expected to emerge as the world’s largest free trade block. US President Barack Obama has been pushing to ratify the pact before the end of his term. South Korea has yet to decide whether to join. Its actual implementation, however, faces uncertainty as key presidential candidates in the United States, one of the major countries leading the initiative, have expressed skepticism in the course of their campaigning.
“We hope that the TPP will pass before the conclusion of the Obama administration,” Clare Fearnley, New Zealand‘s ambassador to South Korea, said during a discussion with journalists in central Seoul.
Mentioning that South Korea appears not interested in participating in the TPP, she said that all 12 member countries would “welcome” South Korea’s decision if the country decides to join it.
“We would hope that in the future Korea changes its mind about the TPP. From New Zealand’s perspective, we think Korea is a very natural partner within the TPP,” she noted.
As for the free trade deal that went into effect last year between New Zealand and South Korea, she said that it has been proved to be a “very successful” two-way agreement, and Korea, in particular, has done quite well.