South Korea to hold trade talks with four South American nations



Kang Yoon-seung | Yonhap News Agency

South Korea’s trade ministry said Monday it plans to hold the fourth round of trade talks with a regional economic bloc in South America, as Seoul aims to expand its trade network with emerging countries and revitalize its ailing exports.

During the meeting, which will run from Tuesday to Friday in South Korea’s southern port city of Busan, discussions will center on exchanging details of a free trade pact that covers products, services and investment, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

South Korea agreed with four MERCOSUR member states — Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay — in 2018 to launch trade talks. Venezuela’s membership has been suspended since 2016 for failing to meet the group’s basic standards.

Seoul’s outbound shipments to the four member countries reached US$5.6 billion in 2018, down 13.7 percent from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association.

South Korea mainly exports chips, auto parts and mobile devices to the South American countries. In return, Asia’s No. 4 economy imports vegetable materials, iron ore and grain from them.

The country has been seeking to diversify its free-trade network with emerging countries to revitalize its ailing exports. Amid growing protectionism, South Korea’s outbound shipments fell 21.8 percent in the first 20 days of September and are set to drop for the 10th consecutive month on-year.


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