S. Korean Cabinet to approve free trade deal with Colombia
Published : 2013-02-05 09:04
Updated : 2013-02-05 09:04
The South Korean Cabinet plans to approve a free trade deal with Colombia on Tuesday as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade and pave the way to tap deeper into the South American market, officials said.
After rounds of talks since late 2009, Seoul and Bogota concluded the deal in June last year, and initialed the pact two months later.
"Upon the Cabinet approval, the two countries are expected to formally sign the deal within this month, and to seek a legislative approval from each parliament," said a foreign ministry official in charge of the issue, adding the pact is expected to go into effect in the first half of this year at the latest.
Under the deal, the two countries agreed to eliminate tariffs on 96.1 percent of Colombian goods and 96.7 percent of South Korean goods within 10 years after the pact takes effect, according to the foreign ministry officials.
As part of the deal, Colombia, which currently imposes a 35 percent duty on auto imports from South Korea, would scrap all tariffs on South Korean automobiles within 10 years.
Though South Korea's trade volume with Colombia amounted to about US$2 billion in 2011, a small amount compared to other major trading partners, the South American country bears high growth potential, the officials added.
Being considered one of the major emerging markets in the world, along with Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and others, it is rich in oil and other natural resources and has been emerging as a free trade hub in Central and South America with aggressive efforts to seek free trade agreements.
South Korea has an FTA with Chile, which took effect in 2004, and struck a free trade deal with Peru in 2011. (Yonhap News)