Posted: Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018. 11:21 AM. CST.
By BBN Staff: Five Central American countries, not including Belize, are to sign a free trade deal with South Korea today after more than two years of talks to ease tariffs and barriers on a range of products.
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will seal the pact with the Asian country, sending their economy ministers to the signing ceremony. Guatemala had originally been included in the negotiations but has decided to remain out of the deal for now. Belize, according to the report, was not involved at all.
Talks on the pact started in June 2015 and covered 21 chapters addressing market access, rules of origin, trade facilitation, health and phytosanitary measures, trade defense, investment and technical obstacles to trade.
The agreement “is an example of how an adequate balance can be found between opening new market opportunities for products and, at the same time, respect the sensitivities of productive sectors,” the Salvadoran economy ministry said in a statement.
After the signing, the accord is due to be submitted for ratification to the participating countries’ legislatures. In 2016, Central America imported $1.08 billion from South Korea and exported $143 million to the country.
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