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Park holds talks with Santos on boosting ties

South Korean President Park Geun-hye called Friday for quick ratification of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia to further boost bilateral trade in the second day of her visit to the South American country.
 
The sides clinched an FTA in February 2013, but opposition mainly from the automobile sector in Colombia has delayed the domestic ratification process.
 
Colombia's Constitutional Court has yet to approve the deal, while South Korea's parliament has completed its ratification.
 
Park said she and President Juan Manuel Santos "are on the same page for the need to make efforts to share the benefits of free trade and to further expand trade volume," Park said in a joint news conference with Santos after their summit at the presidential palace.
 
Trade volume between the two countries stood at $2.1 billion in 2014, up 36 percent from a year earlier.
 
Santos said the free trade deal would bring much benefit to his country in the agriculture sector as South Korea is a major importer of agricultural products and Colombia can meet Seoul's demand.
 
Park and Santos observed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in e-commerce, a move that Seoul says could help South Korean companies make inroads into Colombia's e-commerce market and boost bilateral trade.
 
The worth of Colombia's e-commerce market grew to 70 billion won ($64 million) in 2013, up from 15 billion won in 2008.

Colombia's e-commerce market has significant growth potential due to the expanding use of personal computers and mobile devices.
 
South Korea and Colombia also signed more than a dozen separate MOUs, which call for cooperation, among other things, in electric buses and smart grids. A smart grid technology is designed to increase power system efficiency.

South Korea also hopes that its companies can participate in building a subway system in Bogota and other infrastructure projects. Colombia plans to start a bidding process this year for an estimated $7.6 billion subway system in the capital. (Yonhap)
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