South Korea confirms free trade deals with five Central American nations

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South Korea has announced a series of new free trade deals with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

The South Korean government has confirmed the signing of five new free trade agreements (FTAs) with Central American nations.

Representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama travelled to Seoul this week to sign separate bilateral pacts eliminating duties on around 95 per cent of trade in goods and services.

It is expected that these new agreements will accelerate South Korea's economic growth by 0.02 per cent overall over the next ten years, with exports of cars, steel, cosmetics products and automotive components all expected to benefit.

Previous free trade pacts with the US, the EU and China have helped to boost South Korean exports in recent years, and these new deals are expected to build further on this momentum.

South Korean trade minister Kim Hyun-chong said: "The South Korea-Central America free trade deals will enable the countries to build a more comprehensive, strategic partnerships going forward."

Since the five agreements are subject to parliamentary approval in each country, they are likely to take effect at different times, depending on how long each ratification process takes.