SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's trade ministry on Tuesday urged a group of five Central American countries to implement a free trade agreement (FTA) with Seoul.
Early this month, South Korea's parliament ratified the pact with the five countries -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
Among the five, Nicaragua has completed its domestic procedures, paving the way for the FTA implementation in October, according to the trade ministry here. Four other countries are expected to implement the free trade deal as soon as they finish their own domestic procedures, it added.
Free trade negotiations with the five countries started in June 2015, and the countries signed the deal in February 2018.
Asia's No. 4 economy, which has been recently suffering from slowing exports amid the Washington-Beijing trade row, has been making efforts to expand economic ties with emerging countries to ease its dependency on China and the United States, its top two trading partners.
Seoul is the first Asian nation to have reached a deal with the five countries.
South Korea's exports to the five countries reached US$2.5 billion in 2018, up 14.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea International Trade Association.
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