The Korea Herald - 01 June 2021
S. Korea, Mercosur bloc hold 6th round of FTA talks
South Korea on Tuesday held the sixth round of free trade talks with a group of South American countries, after around a year of hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two parties kicked off the four-day meeting virtually to set details on the pending trade agreement, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. The previous meeting was held in Uruguay in February 2020.
South Korea launched its first talks with the four member states of the South American trade block Mercosur — Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay — in 2018.
The four countries take up around 70 percent of the population in South America, along with 68 percent of the region’s economy.
"The FTA with Mercosur will help the two parties to expand trade and investment, and bolster economic ties," the ministry said in a statement.
South Korea has been making efforts to expand its FTA portfolio in line with efforts to cope with protectionism.
Currently, South Korea has FTAs with 17 countries and regional blocs, including the United States, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
A handful of free trade pacts currently awaits parliamentary approval, including those with Indonesia and Cambodia.
Asia’s No. 4 economy also awaits the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers ASEAN and its dialogue partners — South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.