Yonhap News Agency - 05 September 2023
Guatemala to join S. Korea-Central America FTA
By Oh Seok-min
Guatemala will join a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and a group of Central American nations, Seoul’s trade ministry said Tuesday.
South Korea and five Central American nations — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua — fully implemented their FTA in March 2021, and they reached a deal with Guatemala for its joining of the pact following two years of negotiations, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Seoul’s Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun declared the conclusion during a video conference with his Guatemala’s economic minister, Luz Perez Contreras, on Tuesday, and agreed to speed up follow-up procedures for its official signing.
Guatemala was initially among dialogue partners for the FTA, but it had stepped out during negotiations amid differences on tariff and country of origin related rules.
"Guatemala’s envisioned participation is expected to further develop the Korea-Central America FTA as a key platform for our firms’ advance into the market," Ahn said.
Trade between South Korea and Guatemala has risen recently from US$237 million in 2018 to $323 million last year, according to government data.