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S. Korea kicks off 7th round of free trade talks with Mercosur

(Mercosur)
(Mercosur)

South Korea said Monday it has launched a new round of negotiations to clinch a free trade agreement with Mercosur, South America's leading trading bloc, as it aims to further expand its export portfolio.

Asia's fourth-largest economy and Mercosur began a five-day virtual meeting that will run through Friday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Mercosur -- made up of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay -- accounts for around 70 percent of the population in South America and 68 percent of the region's economy. South Korea and Mercosur launched their first negotiations in 2018.

During this week's meeting, the two parties are expected to negotiate on a wide array of issues, including intellectual rights and the scope of products.

South Korea has been making efforts to develop deeper ties with emerging markets in the region after implementing its first-ever FTA with Chile in 2004.

South Korea also holds FTAs with Peru and Colombia, along with five countries from Central America. Another trade pact is being negotiated with Ecuador as well.

The country is also seeking to become an associate member of the Pacific Alliance comprised of four countries, namely Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.

South Korea's associate membership at the bloc is expected to further enhance existing ties and also virtually serve as its first FTA with Mexico. (Yonhap)
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