Colombia FTA to be signed on Thursday: Trade Ministry

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Colombia FTA to be signed on Thursday: Trade Ministry

Korea will sign a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) this week with Colombia, the fourth-largest economy in Latin America, the Seoul government said yesterday.

The agreement will be signed Thursday at Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the ministry said. It will be Korea’s 10th free-trade deal.

Colombia has so far signed 12 bilateral and multilateral trade deals with 59 countries, but Korea will be the first Asian country to ink a free trade deal with the Latin American nation. Colombia currently has the third-largest market in Latin America with a population of 46 million. The resource-rich country is also said to have some 1.9 billion barrels of oil in deposit and about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Korea’s bilateral trade with Colombia more than doubled in just three years from $920 million in 2009 to $1.89 billion last year with $1.47 billion worth of Korean products shipped to Colombia in 2012, according to the Trade Ministry.

The Korea-Colombia FTA will remove import tariffs on 96.1 percent of Korean goods shipped to Colombia and 96.7 percent of products shipped here from the Latin American country. A total of 151 products, mostly farm products, including rice, have been excluded from the list of items subject to tariff exemption.

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