(LEAD) S. Korea’s trade chief to attend APEC trade ministers’ meeting in Detroit

Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun will attend this week's meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers in Detroit, his office said Thursday.

The annual APEC trade ministers' meeting was to take place Thursday through Friday (local time), to be chaired by the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, for discussions on ways to strengthen the multilateral trading system and to beef up the role of trade for sustainable and inclusive growth, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

During the meeting, Ahn plans to present South Korea's major policy measures to contribute to the multilateral trading system and ways of global cooperation to achieve the goal in an effort to better respond to fast-changing trade circumstances amid the spread of protectionism that reshapes global supply chains.

"As the Asia-Pacific region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, our agenda will provide an opportunity for members to engage and zero in on how we can ensure international cross-border trade flows smoothly, and how trade can help us address the region's most pressing challenges from climate change to economic inequality," Rebecca Sta Maria, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, was quoted as saying by her office.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Ahn plans to meet with his counterparts from major APEC member nations to discuss industry, trade, energy, and a wide range of pending issues and ways of cooperation, the ministry said.

Following the two-day APEC ministerial meeting, Ahn is scheduled to attend the ministerial meeting of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to be held in Detroit on Saturday.

The 14 participating nations will check their discussions on its four key pillars -- trade, supply chain resilience, clean economy and fair economy -- over the past year and exchange opinions on future directions, according to the ministry.

The 14 IPEF nations, including Japan, Australia, India and Vietnam, represent 40 percent of global gross domestic product, and 28 percent of global goods and services trade, according to government data.

As of 2021, trade volume between South Korea and the remaining 13 IPEF member nations had come to US$498.4 billion, accounting for 39.6 percent of Seoul's total trade that year.

The IPEF was launched in May 2022 with a goal to promote resilience and fairness, and fuel sustainable economic growth and investment in the region. So far, the nations have held three rounds of official rule-setting negotiations, with the latest one taking place in Singapore earlier this month.

Source: Yonhap News Agency