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S. Korea inaugurates new trade policy committee

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEJONG, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday launched a new government committee that will oversee all its trade affairs, including new free trade agreements (FTAs).

The new Trade Policy Committee consists of officials from 23 government ministries and organizations, including the Financial Services Commission and the customs service, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy whose chief will serve as its chairman.

"In 2014, the government seeks to actively deal with changes in trade conditions of the Asian-Pacific region, such as rapid economic integration in the area, while seeking to sign a Korea-China FTA at an early date to secure a way into China's domestic market," the ministry said of the outcome of the committee's inaugural meeting held in Seoul.

Monday's meeting was the first of its kind following law revisions that created new government committees, including the one on trade policy, under the Park Geun-hye administration.

Six working-level meetings were held before the committee's official launch on Monday.

As a pan-government body that oversees all trade affairs, the committee will also decide the country's possible participation in the U.S.-led regional free trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the ministry said.

South Korea has expressed its interest in joining the ongoing TPP negotiations that currently involve 12 countries, including Australia, Canada and Japan.

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