The Philippines has concluded its negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea, which is expected to boost trade and investment between the two countries as they recover from the pandemic. The Philippines-South Korea FTA is expected to be signed in early 2022. The Philippines and South Korea started FTA negotiations in June 2019. Once signed, this will be the Philippines’ second bilateral FTA after Japan.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the Philippines will remove tariffs on 96.5% of all products traded, while South Korea will lift tariffs on 94.8%. Philippines Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez mentioned that South Korea accepted the proposals such as the inclusion of industrial development and cooperation agreements to address the pandemic and other public health emergencies. Both countries will further negotiate agreements for trade in services and investments not later than one year after the FTA is implemented, the DTI chief said.
South Korea is one of the Philippines’ largest trading partners. Philippine exports to South Korea totaled US$ 2.53 billion last year, 22% down from US$ 3.24 billion in 2019, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. South Korea accounted for 4% of export receipts last year.