Since signing their free trade agreement in 2003, trade relations between South Korea and Chile have made tremendous achievements with bilateral trade having quadrupled from 1.6 billion U.S. dollars then to roughly 6.3 billion last year.
Chile was South Korea's first FTA partner; on the Chilean side, it was Latin America's first FTA with Asia.
17 years later, how do the two economies plan to take the relations to a new level - especially in this pandemic era and beyond?
It's the topic of our News In-depth and for that we have a special guest in our studio today.
Chilean Vice Trade Minister, Rodrigo Yanez, welcome to News In-depth.
As South Korea's foreign ministry announced, your visit marks the first high-level visit from Latin America since the Covid-19 pandemic took the world by storm.
What's the motivation behind your trip?
South Korea, as you know, has been a country held up as a model for our response to Covid-19.
But, with the recent surge of triple digit daily cases, we're on the brink of a new nationwide outbreak. Social distancing rules have been stepped up.
Masks are now mandatory and schools have been closed in the greater Seoul area. How have you been finding things here compared to the situation back home?
As the entire world battles the pandemic, how is Chile and Latin America dealing with Covid-19?
Have Chile and South Korea made any progress on Covid-19 cooperation?
What have you been able to achieve in the last couple of days in South Korea?
You've had meetings with not only foreign affairs officials but also with trade and energy ministry officials as well as those in science and ICT.
A wide range of business and cooperation opportunities you're opening up, are you?
Chile and South Korea first opened free trade agreement negotiations in Auckland, New Zealand back in 1999. After six rounds of talks, an agreement was signed in 2003.
Then, on July 4th last year, the two countries had further negotiations to enhance and deepen the free trade agreement.
Here we are 21 years since Chile and South Korea first became trading partners.
How would you describe the trade partnership between the two countries?
South Korea's central bank slashed the country's growth for this year to negative 1.3 percent yesterday - the biggest contraction in more than two decades.
What's the growth forecast of the Covid-impacted Chilean economy for this year? How do you expect Chile to ride out the pandemic?
How has the pandemic specifically affected trade between Chile and South Korea? Has any particular sector been affected more than others?
Chile was South Korea’s first FTA partner. Two-way trade quadrupled to nearly 6.3 billion U.S. dollars last year from about 1.6 billion in 2003 when the agreement was first signed.
What are some trade goals that Chile aspires to achieve with South Korea? Are there any specific areas of trade that Chile would like to expand with South Korea?
The average South Korean would perhaps think of wine when they think of Chile.
What would you say the average Chilean thinks of when they think of South Korea?
Rodrigo Yanez Benitez, Chile's Vice Minister of Trade, many thanks for joining us and speaking with us today. We appreciate it.