FTAs 'Saved Korea $8 Billion in Tariffs'

Nine free trade agreements with 46 countries over the last 10 years have saved Korea US$8 billion in tariffs to trading partners.

The Korea International Trade Association in a report on Sunday looked back at the FTAs Korea signed in the past decade, and said, "The average tariff rate imposed on Korean products by the countries that imported them fell from 5.3 percent in 2004 to 4.7 percent in 2013."

Park Chun-il at KITA said, "If we include the FTAs with Australia, Canada, and Colombia that will go into effect this year, the effect on reducing tariffs will be around $10 billion. And if the FTA with China happens, the effect will surpass $20 billion."

Trade volume expanded. Trade between Korea and Chile, for instance, rose by 450 percent from $1.58 billion in 2003 to $7.12 billion last year. The bilateral deal became effective in 2004. The number of Korean companies that export to Chile soared from 733 before the FTA to 2,096 in 2013.

The market share of Korean cars in Chile rose from 12 percent to 31 percent during the period, overtaking Japanese and American cars.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 31, 2014 12:14 KST