The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Jan. 15 that it would accelerate the penetration of the Latin American and Middle Eastern markets by making use of FTAs and helping 2,400 domestic enterprises export their products to these regions. It is aiming to record US$600 billion in exports to the regions this year, while attracting foreign investment of US$20 billion from the markets.
The ministry is planning to sign FTAs this year with the eight member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) – Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Belize, and Honduras. All of these countries are home to abundant natural resources and fast-growing domestic markets.
It is going to conclude free trade deals with Middle Eastern countries as well, while trying to win construction projects worth over US$10 billion combined there, including those for running nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, it is planning to send at least 3,000 Korean job seekers to the Middle East regarding the projects.
The ministry will also adopt new export methods such as those based on e-commerce so that small firms can make better inroads into the markets. Its plan is to assist the 2,400 firms so that their export ratio can be raised to at least 35 percent. Then, their export volume will increase from US$194.8 billion to US$200.5 billion.
In an effort to make better use of e-commerce, the ministry will help 1,500 Korean firms partner with global online shopping malls like Amazon and Taobao. Also, marine transportation routes between Incheon and Qingdao are open in February for better logistics services.