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Wednesday 27 February 2013

Patricia Covarrubia

FTA Korea and Colombia: a success for DOs in coffee is expected

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Last week, we finally witness the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and Colombia. Negotiations finished last year in June, and this month the Agreement was signed. It now goes for approval: in Colombia to the Congress and in Korea to the National Assembly.

According to the Colombian Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC), “the Asian market accounts for almost 60% of the world population and economies that have rapidly developed in recent decades”. The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Díaz-Granados, said that the FTA will benefit all sectors. This is so, because the FTA includes trade in goods and services as well as investment and cooperation. It contains 22 chapters one of which is dedicated to Intellectual Property.

It is also good to note that Korea is a net exporter of capital (in 2012 goods bought represented USD $ 524,413,000) and a leader in technological innovation. Moreover, it is said that the Colombian mining and agriculture could have great opportunities in the Korean market. In the region, Chile (in 2004) and Peru (in 2011) do also have a FTA with Korea and the experience has been positive (e.g. Chile's agricultural sale to Korea has multiplied four times). Among the strong Korean industries are auto-mobiles  appliances, steel, some petrochemical products and textiles. Brands familiar to Colombians from the Korean market are Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, LG Electronics, Posco, Poongsan, Golden-Oil and Skizen. For Colombia there are opportunities in pharmaceuticals, articles of iron or steel, artificial flowers, plastic in primary forms, cosmetics and toiletries. Coffee and coffee extracts are hoping to increase their market (in 2011 coffee alone represented USD $97 million in the Korean market and it is said that Korea plans to import about USD $ 1,000 million). In this line, it is established that all goods protected by SIC as a Denomination of Origin (DO) will be identified with this stamp and thus, protected under this Agreement e.g. ‘Cafe de Colombia’ and ‘Café de Nariño’.

The Minister asserts that consideration was given not only to entrepreneurs but also to workers and minorities including meetings with leaders of the labour unions and also with representatives of indigenous peoples. The latter being relevant due to the potential impact of mining that could have in their lands and also ensuring them the protection of theirs Dos such as ‘ Mochilas Wayuú’(backpacks), ‘Tejeduría Zenú’ (weaving), ‘Hamacas de San Jacinto’ (hammock), ‘Sombrero Aguadeño’ (hat), ‘Mopa Mopa Barniz-Pasto’ (polish of grass), among others. Regarding the cooperation it is said that the Korean government is creating mechanisms “to promote the transfer of know-how”.

Source SIC.
Q & A from the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism here.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia