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Trade chief to visit Cambodia this week for RCEP talks, ASEAN meetings

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (Yonhap)
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (Yonhap)

South Korea's Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun plans to visit Cambodia this week to attend the inaugural ministerial meeting of a regional mega trade pact, as well as three ASEAN-related economic talks, his office said Thursday.

During the three-day visit to Siem Reap starting Friday, Ahn will meet his counterparts from 14 member nations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to discuss ways to better ensure stable supply chains and to check detailed rules of their trade deal, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

RCEP has 15 members -- 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. South Korea signed the deal with the partners in 2020, and it took effect for South Korea in February 2022.

RCEP is one of the world's biggest free trade agreements (FTA), as the member nations account for around 30 percent of global gross domestic product, population and trade volume, government data showed.

While in Cambodia, Ahn will also take part in the 19th South Korea-ASEAN economic ministers' meeting for talks on how to advance their bilateral FTA, particularly in terms of digital trade norms.

The minister also plans to discuss how to invigorate regional trade and investment in the post-pandemic era during the 25th session of the ASEAN plus three economic ministers' meeting, a dialogue that involves South Korea, China and Japan, according to the ministry.

He will also attend the 10th East Asia Summit, which brings together ASEAN and eight other nations, including the United States, Russia and India, as it is expected to serve as a venue for discussions on such challenges as the restoration of the global multilateral trade system and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

"South Korea seeks to strengthen economic ties with ASEAN, as well as other partners, by working closely together on supply chain resilience, digital economy and responses to climate changes," the ministry said in a release. (Yonhap)