Korea - Columbia Free Trade Agreement June 26, 2014
A bill submitted by the Korean government for the ratification of the Korea-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was approved by the Korean National Assembly on April 29th, 2014. Ratification by the Colombian legislative body is pending. Korea is the first country in Northeast Asia to sign an FTA with Colombia, while Colombia is the third South American country to sign an FTA with Korea, following Chile and Peru.
Agricultural trade between Korea and Colombia is relatively small. Colombia ranked as the 42nd largest agricultural exporting country to Korea in calendar year 2013 with a total of 72.72 million U.S. dollars1. However, Colombia is the 4th largest exporter of coffee to Korea, valued at $48.34 million in 2013.
Based on HSK (Harmonized System for Korea) product lines, 96.1% of Korea's imports from Colombia and 96.7% of Colombia's import from Korea will become duty free within 10 years of implementation. In terms of agriculture, 70.96% of Korea’s imports from Colombia and 76.06% of Colombia's import from Korea will become duty free within 10 years. Korea employed exceptional clauses, such as an extended tariff removal schedule, tariff rate quota (TRQ), and agricultural safeguard (ASG), due to concerns about sensitivities in the agricultural market. In addition, 151 very sensitive products were excluded from the concession. Notably, rice and rice related products were excluded from the agreement.
Through this FTA, Colombia is attempting to increase the size of its agricultural exports to Korea as a result of lower tariffs, and ultimately lower wholesale and retail prices. The agricultural product lines that Colombia has focused on are coffee (and coffee related products), cut flowers, and banana. Especially, for coffee products, the current tariff of 2 to 8% will be eliminated immediately or within 3 years. Competition among imported coffee in Korea is expected to increase once the FTA is implemented. On the other hand, the impact of the FTA on competition between other products is predicted to be relatively minor as the trade volume is rather small. The average value of coffee imports during the period 2007 to 2009 accounted for 92 percent of total agricultural imports from Colombia; clearly showing that trade volume in non-coffee products from Colombia was insignificant