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S. Korea calls for expansion of economic ties with Latin America

All News 10:39 October 07, 2019

SEJONG, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister called Monday for the expansion of economic cooperation with Latin American countries beyond agricultural products and manufacturing goods.

Hong Nam-ki said South Korea and Latin American countries need to explore new growth engines, such as e-commerce, health care, artificial intelligence and other industries related to the fourth industrial revolution.

"I am confident that South Korea's economic cooperation with Latin America will continue to persist, though external conditions are getting worse due to the spread of new protectionism," Hong said in a speech at a business meeting between South Korea and Latin America at a Seoul hotel.

Key participants included Luis Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank; Jose Manuel Restrepo, Colombia's minister of commerce, industry and tourism; and Maria Luisa Hayem, El Salvador's minister of economy.

Bilateral trade and investment have been on the rise in recent years.

South Korea's investment in the Latin American region jumped to US$8.14 billion in 2018, up from $620 million in 2003. Trade volume between South Korea and Latin American nations stood at $51.5 billion in 2018, compared with $13.4 billion in 2003, according to South Korean data.

Last week, South Korea's free trade agreement with Honduras and Nicaragua went into effect as the first step of the comprehensive deal covering five Central American countries, also including Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama, according to the trade ministry.


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