SEOUL -- South Korea will make a decision on whether to join a Pacific trade pact within the first half of the year, its top economic official said Monday, as U.S. President Donald Trump stepped up his protectionist policy after abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Canada and 10 other countries last week signed a new deal called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The 11 countries also include Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
"After working out a consensus among government agencies on whether to join (CPTPP) within the first half of this year, we will implement related procedures if necessary under our trade law," Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in a meeting of economic officials.
South Korea should decide on its participation in the trade block "at appropriate times" by watching the ratification of Japan, Australia, Mexico and other countries, he said.
South Korea has pushed for free trade pacts with countries in the Asia Pacific region. It is in talks on participating as an associate member in the Pacific Alliance trade bloc grouping Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.
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