Costa Rica, South Korea Agree To Explore FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong
23 August 2012

Given the growing level of economic cooperation between the two countries, South Korea and Costa Rica have agreed to study the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).

The joint decision to explore the benefits of an FTA before beginning substantive talks was taken by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda during their recent meeting in Seoul.

While South Korea has welcomed Costa Rica’s plan to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which could boost trade and investment between the two countries, it has been pointed out that traded products between the two countries are largely complementary.

An agreement could be particularly beneficial for South Korea’s export-dependent vehicle and electronic goods manufacturing industries, while it also welcomes all opportunities to secure further stable sources of commodities.

South Korea already has three FTAs with Latin American nations – Chile, Peru and Colombia, while it is also still looking at a further FTA in the region with Mexico with negotiations due to re-start this year, and would also like a multinational agreement with Mercosur, the South American common market.

Costa Rica is known principally as a producer of pineapples, bananas, coffee, sugar and beef, but manufacturing’s contribution to its economy has grown, led by foreign investment in its free trade zones and the ease of access to North and South American markets.