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|Illustrative image (Photo: Yonhap)|
Seoul - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) agreed on September 1 to deepen trade ties to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and make efforts to increase the supply of vaccines.
The Yonhap News Agency cited the RoK Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying that its Minister Yeo Han-koo met with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi virtually to share ideas on ways to maintain their supply chain.
During the meeting, ASEAN acknowledged that the RoK's New Southern Policy, meant to expand trade with Southeast Asian nations, has contributed to the region's economy.
The two sides agreed to make efforts to guarantee free travel of vaccinated businessmen to maintain trade amid the pandemic. They will venture into ways to cooperate in the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
The RoK also vowed to spare no efforts for the full implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that accounts for one-third of the world's gross domestic product.
In November, members of ASEAN, along with its dialogue partners -- the RoK, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- inked the deal. The RoK plans to submit the bill on the RCEP to the National Assembly this month for approval.
Statistics show that in the first 6 months of 2021, the RoK's outbound shipments to ASEAN hit 49.2 billion USD, setting a fresh high for the period.