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National Assembly ratifies RCEP trade pact

22:39 December 02, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliament on Thursday ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional free trade agreement that encompasses about one-third of the world's gross domestic product.

The ratification came after South Korea inked the trade deal in November last year with 14 other countries -- 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- in a move to further diversify its trade portfolio.

It is the first free trade agreement that involves South Korea and Japan.

With the ratification by the National Assembly, the agreement is expected to go into effect in early February next year for South Korea, or 60 days after the country submitted the parliamentary approval.

The agreement will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, for some countries in accordance with a rule that it shall enter into force as at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN nations submit the ratification after wrapping up their due domestic procedures.

RCEP is known as the world's biggest FTA, as the 15 member countries combined account for around 30 percent of the global GDP, the world's population and trade volume, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The combined amount of South Korea's exports to the RCEP participants came to US$254.3 billion in 2020, taking up around half of the country's total outbound shipments, the data showed.

This EPA photo taken on Nov. 15, 2020, shows the virtual signing ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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