[Top photo] President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (standing left) and ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol (standing right) witness the signing of the PH-ROK Free Trade Agreement. [Below photo] Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual (seated left) and ROK Trade Minister Ahn Duk Geun (seated right) sign the PH-ROK FTA.
Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol witnessed the signing of the PH-ROK Free Trade Agreement by Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Trade Minister Ahn Duk Geun on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta, Indonesia and on the occasion of the 24thASEAN-Korea Summit last 7 September 2023.
The signed PH-ROK Free Trade Agreement augurs well for the deepening economic cooperation between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea and is a testament to our strong trade and investment relations with the ROK, the 5th largest economy in Asia and the Pacific and the 12thin the world.
President Marcos said that the trade agreement would further enhance the vibrant relationship and partnership between the Philippines and ROK, expressing optimism that it would go beyond the government-to-government partnership to involve private firms and private sector partners.
President Marcos also told President Yoon that "The signing of the FTA is certainly a very big step in that regard. It can only be a successful arrangement for both our countries. I look forward to the expansion of the trade agreement between your country and mine."
For his part, President Yoon said that he is eager to elevate the strategic partnership between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea as he emphasized that the PH-ROK FTA "will set another important milestone" in the relationship between the two countries.
"I'm really also eager to elevate our partnership to a strategic partnership as we have proposed the last time. And in this regard, I believe that the Korea-Philippines Free Trade Agreement signed later today will set another important milestone in our bilateral relations," the ROK President said.
PH Trade Secretary Pascual emphasized that, "For the Philippines, this FTA serves as a clear demonstration of the intent to elevate the current bilateral relations with ROK to a stronger strategic partnership. The Philippines' engagement with ROK is built on trade through market access, economic cooperation, and investments through collaboration in targeted sectors such as critical minerals and supply chains."
The Philippines and ROK began their negotiations for the FTA in June 2019 and concluded in October 2021. The Philippine Embassy, led by H.E. Ambassador Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega and Commercial Counsellor Jose Ma. Dinsay, attended the ceremony for the formal announcement of the conclusion of the negotiations of the Philippines and ROK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 26 October 2021.
The newly signed FTA is expected to remove tariffs on most products from the two countries, opening the door to rapid growth in bilateral trade. It is envisioned to help promote the Philippines as a strong market for smart and sustainable investments, ensure major economic gains with enhanced market access to ROK, and yield strategic investments in priority sectors and industries and in emerging economic areas. ROK is a valued trade and investment partner of the Philippines. In 2022, it ranked fourth in terms of total bilateral trade, valued at USD15.45 billion, and sixth in total approved investments, valued at USD90.62 million. END