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Considerations for Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Region: Asia
Theme: Economics
Location: Korea, South
Published December 11, 2013
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With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks on the verge of completion, Korea has announced that it will begin consultations for joining the regional trade agreement that aims to bring together the economies of East Asia and the Pacific states of the Americas. As Korea begins consultations with members of the TPP, domestic and international trends are likely to weigh high in Korea’s considerations. With economic growth slowing and Korea facing long-term structural challenges such as an aging population, President Park Geun-hye is seeking to increase innovation and spur job creation through the development of a creative economy.

At the same time, Korea faces a changing international economic environment as international trade agreements shift from bilateral FTAs to larger regional trade agreements. This shift has the potential to provide Korea with a larger platform for the development of a creative economy; while Korea’s extensive FTA network also places it in a position to serve as a linchpin to connect both the East Asian and the Asia-Pacific efforts to spur regional economic integration.

As Korea consults with its potential partners, issues such as the future shape of regional rules and standards, the prospective economic benefits of increased regional trade, the potential to aid the shift to a creative economy, and the costs of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, along with foreign policy considerations, will likely play a significant role in Korea’s final decision.

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