South Korea’s trade ministry said Tuesday it is currently under negotiations with Guatemala to invite the Central American country to a multilateral trade pact that fully went into effect this year.
Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo met his Guatemalan counterpart, Antonio Malouf, in Seoul to discuss Guatemala’s entry into the free trade agreement (FTA) between Asia’s No. 4 economy and a group of Central American nations.
South Korea and five Central American nations — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua — fully implemented their FTA in March 2021.
Guatemala was also initially among dialogue partners, but it stepped out during negotiations.
The free trade pact partially went into effect in October 2019 with Honduras and Nicaragua, followed by Costa Rica in November. The deal with El Salvador officially kicked off in January last year, and that with Panama was implemented in March.
The ministry said inviting Guatemala to the FTA will pave the way for South Korean exporters to expand shipments of steel and cement products to the region.
Other potential winners include the textile industry, which currently accounts for around 80 percent of South Korea’s investment in Guatemala. (https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210928001000320)