[:en]Rodrigo Yáñez, General Director of International Economic Relations
Speaking of South Korea is talking about a big one market. One of the most developed economies developed in Asia, the top 14 in the world, and with an impressive industrial growth, in areas such as steel, automotive and technology.
For Chile, having signed an agreement 14 years ago, which was also the first in a Latin American country with Asia, was a success of great proportions that we hope to continue consolidating with the process of modernization of the FTA that will begin this year.
South Korea is currently the fifth largest trading partner of Chile – after China, the United States, Brazil and Japan – and the fourth destination of our shipments. In 2017, the commercial exchange reached US $ 6,150 million, representing 5% of the Chilean foreign trade.
This does not only mean selling Chilean products to Korea and being able to buy a cheaper TV, car or cell phone in Chile. Our openness to the world has impacted the creation of thousands of jobs, access to development, cooperation, and experiences in technological and educational issues. All of which ultimately translates into opportunities.
But it is time to go even further. In the current FTA with Korea, there were products excluded from tariff preferences, highlighting 370 in the category called “Doha Development Agenda, DDA”, which would be unlocked after the conclusion of Doha. Most of these products becomes from the agro-industrial sector, with great potential for our exporters. Given that Doha is on a pause, it is necessary to move forward through a modernization that contemplates the exclusion of the DDA, as the Asian country has already done with Mexico and the United States.
Furthermore, it is imperative to include in the process the new issues are key to addressing the challenges facing international trade today. The foregoing, without ruling out a future approach through the CPTPP and the Pacific Alliance, an integration process of which the Asian country is already an Observer member and aspires to be an Associate State, as announced at the last Summit of Puerto Vallarta.
The Pacific is our backbone, and from there we are interested in continuing to strengthen the relationship with South Korea, but also with China and India, as well as other Asian markets. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Direcon, the Asia Pacific Cooperation Forum (APEC), and the importance of consolidating a large free trade agreement in the region, as well as the completion of the Forum in 2019, will be central milestones of our agenda, something also reinforced by the leadership of President Piñera and Foreign Minister Ampuero.
Shortly in time, Asia Pacific and South Korea have become fundamental in this way. The Free Trade Agreement that we signed was the first gateway to that continent that breathes opportunities, dynamism and growth. 10 of the 26 agreements that Chile has are with Asia, and the continent concentrates almost 50% of Chile’s trade. Therefore, it is key and necessary to continue narrowing our relationship. Asia Pacific and South Korea are synonymous of the future and we will seek to maximize the opportunities of our natural projection towards that region.[:]