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South Korea could join Pacific free-trade deal

Staff writer |
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, President Park Geun-hye said that South Korea was a "natural partner" for the bloc.

The country had initially opted out of signing the agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"Korea welcomes the TPP agreement reached last week," Park said in her address. "Having already signed trade agreements with 10 of the 12 TPP member countries, I believe Korea is a natural partner for the TPP."

TPP signatories are the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The pact will reduce trade barriers, set labor and environmental standards and protect the intellectual property of multinational corporations.

South Korea has not yet signed the TPP and has been involved in an alternative, Chinese-led agreement. Seven TPP signatories - Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei - are also reported to be involved in the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

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