logo logo

Colombia FTA talks closer

JoongAng Daily, Korea

Colombia FTA talks closer

Discussions slated to start in Seoul in Dec.

19 November 2009

Korea and Colombia will launch formal negotiations next month to seal a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade, Seoul’s trade ministry said yesterday.

According to the ministry, both sides will hold their first round of FTA talks in Seoul from Dec. 7 to 9. Bilateral trade reached $1.23 billion in 2008, with Korea’s exports to the South American country reaching $1.09 billion, according to the ministry. Korea’s main export items include cars and electronic goods. The country imports coffee and resources such as coal and nickel from Colombia.

Korea already has an FTA with Chile that took effect in April 2004. Korea is also in free trade negotiations with Mexico and Peru. Seoul is seeking to intensify economic cooperation with Latin American countries in a bid to diversify its trading partners and encourage local companies to advance into the region’s resource-rich markets.

Latin American countries are fast emerging as major trading partners of Korea, with bilateral trade and investment tripling over the past five years, according to the ministry. Colombia has free trade pacts with the United States, Canada and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Liechtenstein. Korea also has free trade pacts with Singapore, the EFTA and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

A free trade pact between Korea and the United States was signed in 2007 but still awaits ratification in the legislatures of both countries.