ASEAN-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement: Context of AKFTA ACCORD At the Korea-ASEAN Summit in Lease on 8 October 2003 Heads of state and government from both sides agreed to establish a joint expert group to study the extension of cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and development, including the feasibility of creating a free trade area (FTA). The joint panel then concluded that the creation of a free trade area between ASEAN and Korea would improve trade and investment and increase benefits for both sides in other areas. At the 8th ASEAN-ROK Summit held on 30 November 2004 in Vientiane (PDR) in Lao, it was agreed to conclude a framework for a two-year free trade agreement between the two sides, expected to be concluded by 2006, and to cover trade liberalization of goods and services as well as investment and economic cooperation between ASEAN members and the Republic of Korea in 2015. Numerous official meetings have been convened as part of ASEAN-ROK. One of the most important was the 12th meeting of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area (ACA) Joint Committee in Seoul in May 2015. The meeting made progress on several issues. With regard to trade in goods, progress has been made on additional market access for sensitive products, the implementation of the product-specific rules of origin of HS 2012 and the development of the draft protocol amending the AAFC`s ON merchandise trade agreement. Investments have made progress in negotiations on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement Mechanism (IDR) and in the development of an annex on expropriation and compensation, the annex to customs measures and expropriations, and reservation lists. In the area of economic cooperation, the meeting approved akEC appropriations for 7 cooperation projects. The AEM-ROK meeting was convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 23 August 2015. The meeting noted with satisfaction that the third protocol amending the AKFTA agreement on trade in goods for Thailand and the Republic of Korea came into force on 10 January 2016.

This protocol improved the substances of the agreement to facilitate the use of preferential tariffs by companies and included topics such as the availability of a tariff reduction plan by line based on HS2012 and the use of electronic signatures. In addition, the AEM-ROK approved the modality of additional sensitive products, among which both parties agreed to liberalize an additional 1 to 2% of the currently liberalised tariff lines. Thailand would benefit from additional market access for sugar, textiles and clothing, processed seafood, tiles and hygiene items.