Luncheon Meeting with Latin American and the Caribbean envoys
DPM CHOO Has a Luncheon Meeting with Latin American and the Caribbean Envoys
Deputy Prime Minister Kyungho CHOO had a luncheon meeting with Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) envoys in Seoul on March 7 to discuss ways to further develop economic cooperation between Korea and the region after the two sides celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2022.
During his remarks before the meeting, DPM CHOO highly assessed that the economic cooperation between Korea and the LAC region has been mutually beneficial as indicated by a more than tenfold increase in trade volume for the last three decades despite their geographical distance.
DPM CHOO suggested continuous expansion of trading networks between the two, underscoring the importance of free trade agreements (FTA). He also mentioned active cultural exchanges as well as the support for LAC countries’ economic and social development through Korea’s joining the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2005 and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) in 2020.
DPM CHOO proposed three directions of bilateral economic cooperation going forward, emphasizing the need of deepening cooperation to a deeper and more advanced level against the backdrop of grave global economic conditions.
1) Qualitative advancement in trade and investment: DPM CHOO suggested expanding bilateral cooperation between Korea and the LAC region to cover future-oriented sectors such as 5G/ICT, services and new renewable energy to meet the needs of LAC countries that have keen interest in emerging technologies such as digital transformation.
2) Response to supply chain and climate change: The Korean government proposed to create mutually beneficial supply chain cooperation mechanisms with LAC countries to capitalize on Korea’s technological capabilities and LAC countries’ abundant key minerals and strengthen strategic partnerships for climate change response, hydrogen industry development and among others.
3) Infrastructure development: Korea’s development cooperation with LAC countries needs to evolve into bilateral cooperation projects with individual countries and landmark-type private investment projects, not limited to support through multilateral development banks (MDBs).
DPM CHOO wrapped up his remarks by asking for individual LAC countries’ support for Korea’s Busan city to be selected as the host city of the EXPO 2030, stressing Korea’s commitment to helping address overarching challenges in the world, such as climate change, digital divide and social polarization, by hosting the event.
During the luncheon meeting, LAC envoys saw eye to eye on the three directions suggested by the DPM and demonstrated keen interest in Korea’s development experiences and policy responses to current issues including high inflation, shrinking population and polarization.
The LAC region is an attractive market for Korean companies thanks to its high growth potentials and has more strategic importance than ever before as a bridge into the North American market as a result of the U.S.’s supply chain restructuring.
Under these circumstances, the Ministry of Economy and Finance will further enhance economic cooperation with LAC countries through various policy tools.
 Ambassadors and acting ambassadors from 18 Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries and Korean officials attended the meeting.
 Bilateral trade volume: US $5.2 billion (1991) → US $30.3 billion (2006) → US $ 54.3 billion (2021)
 Korea signed FTAs with Chile in 2004, Peru in 2011 and Columbia in 2016. In addition, Korea’s FTA with five Central American countries (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama) went into full effect in March 2021.
Please refer to the attached pdf.