The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that the Pacific Alliance held its 14th summit in Lima, Peru on July 6 (local time) and agreed to discuss South Korea’s associate membership in September this year.
Organized in 2012, the Pacific Alliance is a regional economic union of Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile. It began to receive associate members in 2017 and the associate membership in the alliance means a bilateral FTA with the four members. The alliance has discussed the associate membership with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada since 2017 and was planning to initiate the same negotiations with South Korea after the completion of the talks with the four countries.
According to the result of the recent summit, however, the talks with South Korea will kick off in September regardless of the existing negotiations. The ministry explained that this is because the South Korean government made efforts via various channels after South Korea was qualified as an associate member in July last year.
As the most open economies in Latin America, the Pacific Alliance members have economic structures complementary to that of South Korea along with a combined GDP of US$2 trillion and a combined population of 230 million. Mexico is one of the 10 largest export destinations and the biggest Latin American trade partner for South Korean companies, and yet South Korea and Mexico are yet to sign a bilateral FTA. The ministry said that South Korea’s associate membership in the alliance is expected to have the same effect as a bilateral FTA.