President Moon Jae-in (right) on Nov. 25 shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo before their bilateral summit in Busan.
By Park Hye Ri and Kim Hwaya
Photos = 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit
President Moon Jae-in on Nov. 25 announced the official conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is attending the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-ROK (Republic of Korea) Commemorative Summit in Busan.
In their summit, both leaders agreed to cooperate to achieve the goal of USD 30 billion in bilateral trade volume by next year through the CEPA.
Bilateral negotiations on the agreement began in March 2012 and seven rounds of talks were held between March 2012 and February of 2014, but achieved no progress.
During Widodo's visit to Korea in September last year, both leaders agreed to resume the negotiations and the latter's conclusion was announced last month.
President Moon Jae-in and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Nov. 25 attend the signing ceremony of a joint declaration on the CEPA between their two nations. Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (sitting on the right) and Indonesia's Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto sign the documents with their leaders looking on.
The conclusion of the negotiations with Indonesia means the immediate scrapping of tariffs there on Korea's main exports such as steel products, automotive components and synthetic resin. Under this arrangement, Korea secures access of 93% in the Indonesian market, higher than the 80.1% under Seoul's free trade agreement with ASEAN.
President Moon said, "Both countries are pursuing mutual prosperity as necessary partners," adding, "The CEPA's finalization will make bilateral trade more active."
Widodo said, "The CEPA between Indonesia and Korea is a symbol of the economic liberation of both nations," adding, "We should expand bilateral economic cooperation."
President Moon Jae-in (third from right) on Nov. 25 holds a bilateral summit with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Busan.
On the same day, President Moon held a bilateral summit in Busan with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on cooperation in investment, infrastructure and energy and development of human exchanges.
Both leaders agreed to continue negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement to have it finalized by next year.
They also said active friendship and cooperation between Koreans and Filipinos form an important basis to develop bilateral relations.