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PH, South Korea signed free trade agreement, says Marcos

JAKARTA—The Philippines and South Korea have signed a free trade agreement, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced on Thursday.

In a speech after his participation in the 43rd ASEAN and Related Summits, Marcos said the FTA with South Korea would generate jobs and contribute to the Philippines'bid to be a regional hub for sustainable investments.

Marcos left Indonesia, he met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a bilateral meeting.

“I also witnessed the signing of the Philippines-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which clearly demonstrates the shared commitment of both countries to their mutual economic growth and development,” Marcos said.

“The FTA will strengthen our bilateral trade and investment relations with the Republic of Korea, especially as it generates jobs and contributes to the Philippines’ value proposition as an ideal regional hub for smart and sustainable investments,” he added.

Further Marcos said the signing of the FTA is a “testament to the realization of the many opportunities for complementation and collaboration between the Philippines and the South Korea and an even greater milestone for our economic friendship.”

Marcos said the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits demonstrated that countries around the region were committed to regional cooperation and multilateralism, but remain challenged in promoting peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region. 

"I was able to participate in 12-leaders level meetings, including with Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States and the United Nations," Marcos said.

"In these meetings, I promoted and highlighted key interests of ASEAN, such as food and energy, security, migrant workers protection, climate change and digital transformation—issues that are of strategic importance to the Philippines," he added.

Marcos said ASEAN member-states and some external partners highlighted the importance of a rules-based international order. "They also maintained that ASEAN is a competitive and integrated regional economy underpinned by the principle of centrality." 

"The Philippines championed the efforts to immediately operationalize guidelines in protecting migrant workers and families in crisis situations, as well as combating trafficking in persons," Marcos said. 

Marcos participated in the ASEAN Plus 3 with ASEAN Member States and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and "discuss areas of cooperation such as food security, climate change, the digital economy, amongst other things." 

In the East Asia Summit that Marcos attended, broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern were tackled.

 “We discussed regional and international issues, during which I emphasized the importance of a rules-based international order, especially in the disputes in the South China Sea, inasmuch as they affect not only our nation but also the entire region,” he reported.
“I reaffirmed that the Philippines is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes and called on all countries to continue upholding freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.”

Marcos said he urged all parties during the meeting to exercise self-restraint and refrain from unilateral and assertive activities that could increase tensions, and lead to misunderstandings and miscalculations in the South China Sea.

"Other significant regional and global issues including the situation in Myanmar, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the conflict in Ukraine were also discussed," Marcos said.  —NB, GMA Integrated News