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Korea-ASEAN FTA support center opens in Jakarta

Korea-ASEAN FTA support center opens in Jakarta

SEOUL/JAKARTA: South Korea has established a support center for businesses operating in Jakarta to serve as a help desk on the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southeast Asian country, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday.

The center was set up at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) office in the capital city of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member state to mark the 10th anniversary of the open trade deal.

South Korea’s exports to the 10-member ASEAN nearly doubled to US$119 billion last year from $61.8 billion in 2006.

Indonesia has not made the best use of the FTA, although the country accounts for about 40 percent of the gross domestic products of ASEAN, the ministry said.

The opening of the support center in Jakarta brings to 11 the number of South Korea’s FTA support centers abroad with China having seven, Vietnam two and Colombia one.

The ministry, meanwhile, said it will hold an event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Sept. 7 to promote the bilateral free trade deal between South Korea and Vietnam.

The FTA between South Korea and Vietnam went into force in December 2015.

Data released by the Korea Customs Service said outbound shipments to Vietnam surged 49.8 percent to $26.95 billion in the first seven months this year from a year earlier. This makes the country South Korea’s third largest export destination only after China and the United States.