Korea, Peru to Begin Free Trade Talks Next Year
22 November 2008
President Lee Myung-bak and Peruvian President Alan Garcia agreed yesterday to launch negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement in the first half of next year.
In their summit talks in Lima, they also agreed to reach a dual taxation prevention accord and expand mutual cooperation in energy and technology by combining Korean capital and technology with Peruvian energy and natural resources.
To facilitate the agreement, the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Peru`s Banco de Credito concluded a deal to open two-step loans worth 50 million U.S. dollars. Korea Resources Corp. and Peru`s Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute also reached a memorandum of understanding on resource development.
Presidents Lee and Garcia also agreed to set up a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region to help bring free trade and investment and facilitate economic and technological cooperation among countries in the area.
On President Lee’s proposal for “a Korea-Latin America cooperation initiative” centered on a forum of high-ranking officials and a comprehensive mechanism for the cooperation, President Garcia said, “We will favorably review the proposal.”
Both sides also agreed to strengthen exchanges in broadcasting; coordinate mutual interests on the international stage such as in the United Nations; seek concerted efforts in dealing with global issues including climate change and the financial crisis; and review the opening of direct flights between Korea and Peru.
Peru is the world’s largest producer of silver, the second largest for copper and zinc, and the fifth largest for gold. Korean dramas such as “Jewel in the Palace” and “Autumn in My Heart” are gaining popularity in Peru, so the Korean government expects Peru to act as a springboard to Latin American for Korean companies.
To bolster relations with Peru, Korea in August sent 100 police cars worth two million dollars for the smooth preparation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima this weekend. Seoul also donated 620,000 dollars worth of security equipment.
President Lee also talked to reporters Tuesday at the Sheraton Lima Hotel.
On the decision by the Korean railway workers to delay a strike, he said, “It’s the right decision.”
Recalling his summit with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President Lee said, “President Lula said he led 20 walkouts when he was a leader of the metal workers’ union. When I asked how his stance changed after becoming president, he said his stance changed a lot.”
“President Lula said he heard I was also working for a union, yet I wasn’t a union leader since I was a temporary worker. I said to him that my values I’d advocated as a worker and college student had also changed.”
Garcia also awarded President Lee the Grand Cross of the Order of Sun, Peru’s highest honor.
Before the summit, Lee met with ethnic Korean residents in Peru, saying, “I am planning to set up networks that link all Korean communities in the world to communicate with each other.”