Korea, Chile Agree to Enhance Cooperation

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Korea, Chile Agree to Enhance Cooperation


November 24, 2004

 

President Roh Moo-hyun and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar pledged on November 19 to take a leading role in enhancing cooperation between Asia and South America, deepening bilateral ties in various fields as a building block.

On the economic front, they will continue to seek ways to promote bilateral trade, which has soared since their free trade agreement came into effect in April, and South Korea will actively participate in building infrastructure and developing mineral resources in Chile.

Roh and Lagos agreed these and other measures aimed at advancing bilateral relations to promote comprehensive cooperation during a summit meeting in the Chilean capital, Korean officials said.

Chile is the last leg of Roh's three-nation tour to South America -- he visited Argentina and Brazil earlier in the week -- and highlights of his stay in Chile will be the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 20-21) and separate sessions with newly re-elected U.S. President George W. Bush and other APEC leaders.

"The summit (with Lagos) has laid a foundation for expanding and deepening bilateral relations in politics, business, social and cultural areas," said Chung Woo-seong, Roh's adviser for foreign affairs. Roh and Lagos reviewed the achievements of bilateral economic exchanges following the FTA, and discussed measures to make utmost use of the trade agreement, Chung said.

Chile is the first country with which South Korea has signed an FTA, and trade volume has increased by 73 percent in the past six months, compared with the same period last year. Exports and imports have grown by 40 percent and 88 percent, respectively. The two leaders decided to launch a joint study on establishment of a fund for industrial and technological cooperation and to collect $2-3 million for the fund, which can be used for four or five years.

Coinciding with Roh's visit here, an information and technology center was officially opened in Chile in which each country invested $1 million. Roh and Lagos discussed measures to expand trade by possibly dispatching economic delegations to each other country. They also agreed to encourage South Korean companies to participate in Chile's development of natural resources, including copper.

Soon after arriving in Santiago on November 18, Roh met about 100 South Korean residents. A total of 2,000 Koreans live in Chile.

 

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