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S. Korea, Uruguay agree to speed up free trade talks with Mercosur

Yonhap | 13 October 2022

S. Korea, Uruguay agree to speed up free trade talks with Mercosur

MONTEVIDEO, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) — South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou agreed Wednesday to speed up negotiations on a free trade deal between Seoul and South America’s Mercosur bloc, a senior diplomat said.

South Korea and Mercosur held their seventh round of free trade negotiations in September last year, but little progress has been reported since then.

South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong, who is accompanying Han, told reporters that Han asked the Uruguayan president for cooperation to swiftly resume the free trade talks with Mercosur and reach a deal.

In return, the Uruguayan president pledged to make efforts to accelerate the negotiations, Cho said.

Uruguay is serving as a rotating chair of Mercosur, a four-nation economic bloc in the region that includes Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

South Korea launched free trade talks with Mercosur in 2018. The four countries make up around 70 percent of the population in South America and 68 percent of the region’s economy.

During the talks, South Korea and Uruguay agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of ocean, fisheries, ports and defense, Cho said.

Han asked Uruguayan officials to help South Korea export its TA-50 light attack aircraft to the Lain American nation.

Han also asked the Uruguayan president to support South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in the southeastern port city of Busan.

The Uruguayan president said he would positively review Busan’s bid for the Expo, according to Cho.

It was the first time in 11 years that South Korea’s prime minister has visited Uruguay.

Uruguay is the second leg of Han’s three-nation trip that has already taken him to Chile and will take him to Argentina.

 source: Yonhap