Historically, South Korea and Latin American countries have not been major trading partners. However, several political, social, and economic developments in the past 10 years have reshaped their interactions, resulting in a boom in interregional trade. This growth can be attributed to a number of factors ranging from the adoption of neoliberal economic policies in many Latin American countries to Korea’s growing need for mineral resources. In response to this increase in trade, Korea has pursued free trade agreements (FTAs) with a few Latin American countries, starting with Chile in 2003 and Peru in 2010. Korea has since expressed interest in pursuing FTAs with important regional entities including Mexico and the Mercosur trading bloc. This paper examines Korea’s Latin American trade agenda and how its decisions to sign or not sign FTAs with key countries impact the Korean economy.
Lubomir Sokol is a first-year M.A. student at SAIS, concentrating in Latin American Studies. He grew up in both the United States and the Czech Republic. He is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Economics. During his undergraduate studies, he assisted on research into the effects of child labor on the economies of countries around the world. Before coming to SAIS, Lubomir worked in the tech sector in Florida for two years. He has spent time abroad in Europe, Latin America, and China.