DTI sees free trade deal with South Korea finalized soon
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) targets to finalize the free trade deal with South Korea soon, most likely after April, in time for the state visit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the Philippines. However, the state visit has yet to be set.
The new timeline is several months behind the two countries’ original target. Back in April last year, both sides announced they would be pursuing a free trade agreement (FTA), which they promised to sign in November at an international summit in South Korea.
Last year, the DTI said the deal would be finished in the first half of 2020 instead. When President Duterte visited South Korea last year, he invited his counterpart for a state visit to the Philippines so they could sign the FTA.
“[The negotiations with] Korea are moving. Hopefully, we will finish after April or before the visit of the [South] Korean president here,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters in a recent interview.
When asked when the state visit would be, he said: “The South Korea side would know best … Possibly in the second half of the year.” —Roy Stephen C. Canivel INQ
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