Guatemala Joins South Korea-Central America FTA

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The Business Commission on Negotiations and International Trade (Cencit) said it welcomes the signing of Guatemala’s accession protocol to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Central America and South Korea that took place this week.

We hope that Guatemala’s accession to this trade instrument will increase the investment and trade opportunities that are of mutual benefit to our countries, Cencit said in his bulletin.

The accession protocol was held on Monday, January 8, this year in Guatemala.

Cencit’s statement was released by the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (Cacif).

The Council is composed of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport), the Guatemalan Association of Sugars (Asazgua), Chamber of Finance, Chamber of Agro, Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (CCG) and the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (CIG).

And it is explained that it is the consultative body that supports the approval of positions and strategies of the business sector in negotiations and international trade, in order to optimize the results of the agreements negotiated by Guatemala.

In the press release, they expressed their congratulations to the Ministry of Economy and in particular to the Vice-Ministry of Integration and Foreign Trade, which they believe achieved the negotiation that allowed the country to join this FTA.

They add that they recognize the roles of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which through the Guatemalan Embassy in Seoul was key to resuming Guatemala’s participation in the FTA, and look forward to the early ratification of this protocol of accession by the Central American countries that are members of this treaty.

Four years ago, the Guatemalan government decided not to continue the negotiation process with the Asian country, which resumed until 2023.

The FTA came to an effect for the rest of the countries in the area in 2019.

The Guatemala-South Korean Treaty will include some 18, 350 products, while more than 300 were excluded, according to information released by Mineco.

David Juárez, president of the Korean Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (Camcor) said Monday that there is access to important products that have historically had a share in the Korean market, such as sugar, fruits and coffee, but with the indicated signature, it expands to a basket of products that will have immediate reliefs for a period of up to 10 years, such as confectionery and processed foods, which is the best meeting of the light industry with what the Korean market is demanding.

For export, there is a wide category of products, but the challenges are to meet the phytosanitary and safety requirements and strengthen sales efforts to that country.

From South Korea to Guatemala, there are tariff items of interest such as technology products, electronics, steels and laminate products, among others, so you can work with the technology industry, he added.

However, the executive recalled that there are sensitive products that were excluded for the local industry – but it is a good balance between challenges and opportunities.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Prensa Libre