SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) — President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that South Korea is considering becoming a member of a major Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, known as the CPTPP, as part of efforts to diversify its export market.
He also stressed the need to build up the strength of the country’s trade in preparation for the post-coronavirus era, addressing a 57th Trade Day ceremony.
“Diversifying the market is a task that (we) should achieve,” he said during the event held at the COEX convention center in southern Seoul. “(The government) will continue to review joining the CPTPP.”
He was referring to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement involving 11 nations. It’s a renegotiated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) led by the Obama administration but abandoned by President Donald Trump. The U.S. may join the CPTPP under the upcoming Biden leadership.’
Moon pointed out that the “strongest weapon” against protectionism is global competitiveness to produce good products.
He vowed a push for enhancing the competitiveness of South Korea’s manufacturing sector with a focus on three new industries — biohealth, system semiconductors and future cars.
Moon said the trio has served as a “strut” for the nation to pull off a rebound in exports faster than others amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He then emphasized that South Korea needs to gear up for the transformation of its trade to an environment-friendly format and a digital trade era, with the global e-commerce market explosively growing in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.