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Seoul, Bogota Sign Free Trade Deal
�� �� South Korea and Colombia signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on Thursday, hoping the trade pact will boost their trade volume, Seoul's trade ministry said.

The FTA with Colombia is South Korea's 10th free trade deal. Once signed, the free trade agreement will be submitted to the countries' respective legislatures for approval before it can be implemented, according to the ministry.

Under the deal, Seoul and Bogota agreed to eliminate tariffs on 96.1 percent of Colombian goods and 96.7 percent of South Korean goods within 10 years after the pact takes effect.

As part of the deal, Colombia, which currently imposes a 35 percent duty on auto imports from South Korea, would scrap all tariffs on South Korean automobiles within 10 years.

Colombia has high growth potential and is considered one of the major emerging markets in the world, along with Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and others, according to the ministry.

Colombia is the third-largest market in Latin America with a population of 46 million. The resource-rich country is also said to have some 1.9 billion barrels of oil in deposit and about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

South Korea's bilateral trade with Colombia more than doubled in just three years from US$920 million in 2009 to $1.89 billion last year with $1.47 billion worth of South Korean products shipped to Colombia in 2012, according to the trade ministry.

South Korea has an FTA with Chile, which took effect in 2004, and struck a free trade deal with Peru last August, paving the way to tap deeper into the South American market.

Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (Feb. 21, 2013)

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