Korea starts FTA talks with six Central American countries

Arirang | 2015-06-19

Korea starts FTA talks with six Central American countries

It may seem like a small market, but its value and growth potential means there’s more to the region than meets the eye.

Korea’s trade ministry started free trade talks with six Central American nations in the U.S. city of Houston on Thursday, local time.

If sealed Korea will be the first Asian country to have an FTA with the six Central American countries giving Korean products an edge over rival exporters like Japan and China.

With their geographical location, these countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama — act as a trade bridge linking North and South America.

Like Korea, they’ve been busy securing FTAs, already sealing deals with the U.S., Mexico and the European Union.

The combined GDP of the six countries stands at just over 200-billion dollars - a similar level to that of Peru — and their combined population is 44 million.

Trade volume between Korea and the nations stood at just over five billion dollars last year — only accounting for zero.five percent of Korea’s total trade figure but two-way trade has been growing fast, doubling in the space of a decade.

In addition to reviewing tariff benefits, Seoul has also offered to join regional development programs such as electricity and solar energy projects.

Seoul’s outbound shipments of automobiles, auto parts and electronics would all rise, while the central American nations’ food products like coffee and fruit would get greater access to the lucrative Korean market.

Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
Reporter : song@arirang.co.kr

source: Arirang