UPDATE : 2019.12.11 WED 09:31
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South Korea and Colombia agreed on Tuesday to expand economic ties by better utilizing their bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA).

Since the implementation of their FTA in 2016, the bilateral trade volume has been sharply gaining ground, with South Korea's exports to Colombia moving up 13.1 percent in the first half of 2019 from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Outbound shipments to Colombia also moved up 24.3 percent in 2018 from a year earlier to reach US$1 billion, the ministry data showed. The combined trade volume between the two reached $1.8 billion last year, also up 25.8 percent on-year.

"We wish to continue seeking shared economic growth on the back of technological capabilities of South Korean companies," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said during his meeting with Jose Manuel Restrepo, Colombia's minister of commerce, industry and tourism, in Seoul on Tuesday.

South Korea mainly shipped parts for mobile devices and automobiles to Colombia and imported bituminous coal, coffee and crude in return, according to the ministry.

Colombia also supported South Korea's move to become an associate member of the Pacific Alliance, which has Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile as full members. Joining the alliance would mean South Korea would be winning FTAs with its members as well.

As South Korea already holds separate FTAs with Peru and Chile, successfully becoming an associate member would mean South Korea would add Mexico into its network of free trade agreements.

South Korea has been moving to expand trade ties with emerging economies, especially to ease its heavy dependence on China and the United States. (Yonhap)

Lee Kyung-Sik  edt@koreapost.com

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