Seoul signs FTA with Bogota

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Seoul signs FTA with Bogota

Korea and Colombia initialed a free trade deal yesterday that will boost bilateral trade by removing tariffs, officials said yesterday.

The pact is expected to go into effect in the first half of 2013 after winning legislative approval from both countries, they said.

Under the deal, Seoul and Bogota agreed to eliminate tariffs on 96.1 percent of Colombian goods and 96.7 percent of Korean goods within 10 years of the pact taking effect.

As part of the deal, Colombia, which currently imposes a 35 percent duty on auto imports from Korea, would scrap all tariffs on Korean automobiles within a decade.

Korea’s trade volume with Colombia amounted to about $2 billion last year, a fraction compared to other major trading partners.

The country has high growth potential, however, and is considered one of the major emerging markets in the world, along with Indonesia, Vietnam and Turkey, officials said.

Colombia is also 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.

Korea has an FTA with Chile, which took effect in 2004, and struck a free trade deal with Peru last August, paving the way to tap deeper into the South American market.

Korea also succeeded in signing bilateral FTAs with major economies including the United States and Europe, both of which went into effect in the past two years. Korea is working on similar deals with China and Japan. Yonhap

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