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South Korea, Peru sign preliminary free trade agreement

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Published : 2010-11-16 14:29
Updated : 2010-11-16 14:29

South Korea and Peru signed a provisional free trade deal Monday, as leaders of the two states discussed ways of expanding technology and resources exchange during summit talks in Seoul.

Upon the second visit to Seoul by Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez, the two countries also reached preliminary deals to expand cooperation in science-technology and environmental protection, South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

In talks with President Garcia, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak expressed hopes that the FTA would promptly take effect for expanded economic exchanges between the two countries.

The free trade deal will not only “bolster bilateral economic and trade ties, but also enhance the overall welfare of the people” of the two countries, Lee was quoted as saying to his Peruvian counterpart by his office.
President Lee Myung-bak drinks champagne as Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez gestures after their summit talks at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday. On the right is top presidential foreign policy aide Chun Young-woo. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

The South Korea-Peru FTA, which was struck in August after nearly two years of negotiations, will take effect once approved by the legislatures of both sides. Once ratified, Peru will be the second Latin American state after Chile to have free trade relations with South Korea.

The pending FTA bill calls for the abolishment of all tariffs in trade within 10 years, enabling Seoul to secure stable supply of natural resources from Peru, while exporting more electronic devices and automobiles. Two-way trade volume totaled $1.56 billion as of last year.

Lee also asked for Garcia’s consistent interest and support for South Korean firms seeking to participate in Peru’s development of energy, natural resources and construction of infrastructure, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

Garcia responded bilateral relations between the two sides would “take a big leap forward” once the FTA goes into effect, expressing his support for investment by South Korean firms for a “win-win effect.”

The Peruvian president, who arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day visit, held a press conference prior to his summit with Lee, ensuring “larger investment opportunities for Korean firms” once the Korea-Peru FTA is ratified.

“I am hoping that the FTA will play a key role in consolidating and harmonizing the two economies for a complementary effect,” he said. “Our economies will be walking forward as partners.”

By cooperating actively with Peru in environment protection, petrochemicals, fisheries and other natural resources-development, more South Korean firms will be able to gain access to Brazil, the largest market in Latin America, Garcia said.

“Peru is located in the center of South America and possesses well-developed port facilities to play as a bridge between South Korean firms and Brazil,” he said.

Calling South Korea a “similar and familiar economy,” the Peruvian leader congratulated Seoul’s successful hosting of the Group of 20 summit last week.

“We admire the economic and democratic developments South Korea has made, and hope to cooperate further not just on the economy, but also in cultural and social fields.”

Garcia is scheduled to tour the Ulsan Petrochemical Complex in one of South Korea’s main industrial cities and meet a group of business leaders before he returns home Tuesday, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)

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