The Korea Herald


Korea, Colombia to resume free trade talks next month

By 최희석

Published : July 12, 2011 - 19:37

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Minister sees completion of negotiations by year end

Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Korea and Colombia could be concluded as early as December, Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados said on Tuesday.

“Working-level officials will hold a round of negotiations in late August, and it was agreed that we will try to finish the negotiations by the end of the year,” Diaz-Granados said. He added, however, that the implementation of the pact would take additional time as the pact needs approval from the parliaments of the two nations.

“I can’t be certain, but I hope the negotiations will be concluded in December. I have done the part as the minister and it is now down to the negotiators.”
Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald) Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

On Monday Diaz-Granados held a meeting with Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon regarding the stalled FTA talks, where they agreed to resume talks in the near future. Korea and Colombia began FTA negotiations in December 2009, and have so far held four meetings. The last round of negotiations was held in October 2010. Since then the talks have been stalled with the two sides differing on issues regarding agricultural goods, automobiles and household appliances.

Diaz-Granados also said that Korea and Colombia are also in talks to form a strategic partnership in separate negotiations, which will be complimentary to the trade pact.

He said that such a partnership will allow the two countries’ economies to compliment each other, and that both the FTA and the partnership talks are aimed at removing all barriers to trade and investment.

As for the benefits the FTA will bring to Korea, Diaz-Granados said that the pact will open new opportunities for Korean firms to do business in Colombia and also bring benefits from other trade deals his country is working on.

According to Diaz-Granados, Colombia is in talks with a number of other countries regarding free trade deals, and the country plans to set up 14 such pacts involving 50 countries by 2014.

Regarding Korean firms and their plans for the South American nation, he said that a number of Korean firms have shown interest in investing in Colombia.

Among others he said that POSCO and Hanwha Group have shown interest in the country’s natural resources. POSCO, however, said that no related plans were in the works.

He added that Samsung SDS is reviewing plans to work on traffic control systems in Colombia, and that Hanwha has also shown interest in a project establishing telecommunications infrastructure.

By Choi He-suk  (