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K-beauty, K-food should make most of free trade pact: Colombian minister

Colombian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Rodolfo Enrique Zea (Sanjay Kumar/ The Korea Herald)
Colombian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Rodolfo Enrique Zea (Sanjay Kumar/ The Korea Herald)

Colombia can help Korean businesses with their popular cosmetics and food products by supplying exotic ingredients, Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rodolfo Enrique Zea, said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday.

He gave the example of copoazu, an Amazon fruit that can be used to make desserts and confectionery.

The minister was visiting Seoul this week, accompanying President Ivan Duque’s three-day state visit. The president held summit talks with President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday.

Zea said touted Colombia’s strategic location, which offers Korean businesses and exporters access to the lucrative North American market along with benefits from Colombia’s free trade agreements in the region.

Zea presented Colombia’s growing agricultural business sector and new business opportunities for Korean businesses at an event, titled “Colombia: Coffee and Flowers.”

In addition to the free trade agreement with Korea signed in 2013, Colombia offers businesses a full package of tax incentives, land diversity and advanced logistics to reach other markets as part of the government’s big trade push, the minister said.

“The contract facilitates Korean companies’ needs and strong supply of ingredients for processing and placing orders for the North American market,” Zea said.

Noting that Korea was Colombia’s only free trade partner in Asia, the minister stressed that Korean businesses can benefit from the free trade pact in strengthening their supply chains and market access in the region.

He added Colombia’s tax incentives in the agricultural sector can be extended until December 2022 once more conditions are met for bringing new investments, creating more jobs and helping improving the nation’s productivity overall.

“Korean investors can utilize tax free zones within Colombia and produce their products to neighboring countries,” Zea said.

“Columbia also has tourism programs on agriculture in coffee growing areas. I welcome Koreans to know customs, traditions of unexplored regions with new infrastructure and peace agreements and experience growing coffee.”


By Sanjay Kumar (sanjaykumar@heraldcorp.com)
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