Korea, Chile to upgrade FTA, cooperate on new growth industries

President Park Geun-hye and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet discussed how to upgrade the free trade agreement (FTA) between their two countries and strengthen cooperation on high value-added areas at a bilateral summit on April 22.

During the summit at the presidential palace in Santiago, the two leaders exchanged their opinions on expanding exchanges and cooperation in new growth areas including science and technology, information and communications technology (ICT), the health and medical industry, the defense industry and education.

After the summit, the two leaders signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) for cooperation on working holidays, social security, the defense industry and military supply, ICT, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), global start-ups, and the health and medical industry.

The MOU on working holidays is designed to expand bilateral human exchange and will allow youths of both countries aged between 18 and 30 to work and study language in the other country for one year. Korea will issue visas to an unlimited number of Chilean youths for working holidays while Chile intends to issue 100 visas per year. This is the first working holiday agreement Korea has signed with a Latin American country or a Spanish-speaking nation. As part of defense and military cooperation, the two nations agreed to exchange information and technology on weaponry systems, jointly produce goods related to the defense industry and operate a joint defense and military committee.

At a joint press conference, the two leaders announced their agreement that upgrades are needed for the Korea-Chile FTA, which took effect in 2004.

“We had a consensus that changes in the trade environment over the past 10 years since our bilateral FTA took effect need to be reflected and that the FTA needs to be upgraded,” said President Park. “The two nations agreed to discuss details in the future through a bilateral free trade implementation committee.”
On cooperation in creating high value-added areas, President Park said, “I am glad that MOUs have been signed on ICT, the health and medical industry, and astronomical and spatial science, and that we have started discussions on policies regarding the Antarctic. We, the two leaders, reached a consensus that SMEs are important players in the creative industries, and agreed to make necessary efforts to vitalize an electronic commerce platform in order to strengthen the competiveness of SMEs in the two nations and to expand their bilateral exchanges.”

In response, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said, “Chile intends to share Korea’s experience in ICT. We also agreed to strengthen our cooperation in various areas including health and defense.”