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Korea to seek a free trade deal with Egypt

Posted March. 28, 2017 07:30,   

Updated March. 28, 2017 07:35


The Korean government seeks to have a free trade deal with Egypt, which would be the first African country if the deal is struck. It appears to be one of its efforts to diversify export destinations for the country that faces China’s retaliation against the THAAD anti-missile system. Egypt is a strategic hub connecting Africa, the Middle East and Europe with the largest population of 92 million in Arab nations.

“We proposed the Egyptian government a free trade deal between Korea and Egypt,” Yim Seong-nam, the 1st vice minister of foreign affairs, told Korean correspondents at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

The Korean government intends to open ways for Korean companies to reach Africa, the Middle East and Europe by signing the first free trade deal with an African country. While seeking a free trade deal with Israel, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of oil-producing countries, respectively, Korea has yet signed a deal yet.

Korea’s trade surplus with Egypt stood at 1.71 billion dollars last year, accounting for 40 percent of its trade surplus with Africa (4.26 billion dollars). In addition, a strategic relationship with North Korea’s blood ally and a non-standing member of the U.N. Security Council could more pressure on North Korea.

Dong-Joo Cho djc@donga.com