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S. Korea, ASEAN agree to quicken customs procedure for their FTA

South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to address sticky issues in customs procedures for better implementation of their free trade agreement (FTA), the finance ministry said Monday.

Under the agreement, South Korean firms will be able to receive tariff benefits if they submit a copy of certificates of origin when they export goods to the 10 member states of ASEAN, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Korean exporters have had difficulties as the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed international shipments of certificates of origin.

South Korea proposed that it and the economic bloc mutually approve a copy of such certificates until the pandemic is brought under control and ASEAN accepted the offer, according to the ministry.

They have decided to discuss later when they will end the measure after taking into account the virus situation.

Since the free trade deal between South Korea and ASEAN took effect in June 2007, the country's trade with the economic bloc has more than doubled.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

ASEAN currently stands as the second-largest trading partner for South Korea, with their trade reaching $143.8 billion in 2020, more than doubling from $61.8 billion tallied in 2006. (Yonhap)