commerce ministry-name change

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's commerce ministry is set to change its official name Friday following the parliamentary approval of a related government bill, ministry officials said.

Under the revised law on government structure, the commerce ministry, formerly called the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, will change its name to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).

Such a change will take effect as soon as the Cabinet endorses the revision approved by the National Assembly earlier in the day, according to the ministry officials.

Along with the new name, the ministry's role has also changed under the overhaul of the structure of government initiated by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The ministry already handles the country's trade affairs, but most of those issues only concern local businesses and exporters.

Under the new government structure, the ministry will also take charge of the country's trade negotiations, which are currently handled by the foreign ministry.

"The first such case in which MOTIE takes charge will likely be the first round of free trade negotiations between South Korea, Japan and China that are set to be held in Seoul from Tuesday," a ministry official said.

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