December 12, 2014 12:14
A special Korea-ASEAN summit opened at BEXCO in Busan on Thursday, the first since 2009.
In a keynote speech, President Park Geun-hye called for greater liberalization of the free-trade agreement between Korea and the 10-nation bloc.
ASEAN has led the regional integration in East Asia through bilateral free trade agreements with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, she added.
This year alone, Korea has concluded FTAs with countries, including Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, and Vietnam, which account for a combined 74 percent of global GDP, she added. But the rate of utilization of the Korea-ASEAN FTA by Korean businesses "is about half of that of Korea's FTAs with other countries and regions."
On the sidelines, Park held back-to-back summits with the leaders of six ASEAN member countries -- Burmese President Thein Sein, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
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