JAKARTA, 30 March 2020 – Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi held a video conference with the Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Yoo Myung Hee on Thursday, 26 March.

Both parties exchanged information on the COVID-19 situation and measures that have been taken by ASEAN Member States and ROK. They reaffirmed commitment to step up cooperation on ‘universal health coverage and emerging infectious diseases’ as agreed during the 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit.

They also exchanged views on possible approaches to ease the economic impact of COVID-19 due to border and travel measures adopted by governments around the world to contain the spread of the virus. Minister Yoo raised the need to take a pragmatic approach so as not to stall the supply chain.

Recalling the Leaders’ mandate during the 3rd RCEP Summit held in November 2019, Dato Lim and Yoo reaffirmed their commitment to implement the mandate to accelerate the work towards the signing of the RCEP Agreement in 2020. To this end, Yoo appreciated the ASEAN Secretariat’s support throughout the RCEP negotiations and encouraged the ASEAN Secretariat to facilitate more meetings in the future, either through video conference or face-to-face.

The ROK is ASEAN’s fifth largest trading partner in 2018, with total merchandise trade valued at US$ 161.5 billion; and ASEAN’s sixth largest foreign investor with foreign direct investment inflow from ROK recorded at USD 5.9 billion in 2018.

ASEAN and ROK signed the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Goods Agreement in 2007 and have updated the Agreement thrice since then. The last amendment was in 2015 when the Parties signed the Third Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Goods Agreement.

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