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LatinNews Daily - 26 February 2021

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In brief: Panama’s FTA with South Korea due to take effect

* Panama’s trade & industry ministry (MICI) has announced that a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea will take effect on 1 March. Negotiations regarding the FTA began in June 2015 between South Korea and six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama) and will eventually eliminate tariffs on about 95% of goods traded by both sides. The FTA was approved by Panama’s national assembly on 9 July 2020 and has already taken effect in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras. The FTA provides immediate access for Panama’s agricultural products such as coffee, palm oil, tomato paste, rum and sea food. It also includes market access at preferential conditions for some Panamanian exports such as frozen, fresh or refrigerated mince; frozen pork; yucca; and tropical fruits (pineapples, bananas, watermelon, melon, papaya), among other things. South Korea is Panama’s fourth main trading partner in Asia with trade totalling US$354m in 2019.