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2004-11-16 11:35:59
Korea-Mercosur Agree to Study Free Trade Accord
Seoul, Buenos Aires Agree to Study Free Trade Accord

[코리아타임즈 2004-11-15 20:36]  

By Shim Jae-yun
Korea Times Correspondent BUEONOS AIRES - South Korea and Argentina Monday agreed to carry out joint study on the feasibility of signing a free trade agreement between Seoul and the Mercosur, an economic block comprising four South American nations - Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.President Roh Moo-hyun and Argentine President Nestor Kirchner also agreed to improve bilateral relations for mutual prosperity in the 21st century during a summit meeting here. In addition, the two leaders attended a signing ceremony for an agreement on the establishment of the Korea-Argentina Energy Cooperation Agreement inked by the two nations’ energy ministers. Seoul will soon dispatch a joint mission consisting of government officials and private enterprises to expedite cooperation in the field of energy.Roh and Kirchner signed a cooperative pact for the information and technology (IT) sector for the establishment of a bilateral IT cooperative committee and the promotion of exchanges in the areas of software, mobile solutions, high-speed Internet, e-government and human resources.Argentina has been seen an attractive partner for Korea as it is replete with various mineral resources like crude oil, cooper and silver.``In contrast, Argentina has been showing interest in increasing its agricultural products’ access to the Korean market,’’ presidential secretary on foreign policy Chung Woo-sung said during a media briefing.The two heads of state adopted a joint statement vowing joint efforts to promote peace and stability in their respective regions, including on the Korean peninsula.``Roh explained Seoul’s bid to find a peaceful solution to the continuing standoff over the North Korean nuclear weapons program while seeking support for South Korea’s efforts for that aim,’’ he said.The Argentine leader praised the Seoul government’s efforts to resolve the North Korean issue through the multilateral six-party talks, he added.Roh will meet today with businesspeople of South Korea and Argentina as well as parliamentary leaders before flying to Brazil for a state visit at the invitation of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula on ways of promoting trade and investment relations between the two nations.Roh will also visit Santiago, Chile, Nov. 19 where he will attend the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.On the sidelines of the APEC session, Roh will have a summit meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush for the first time since Bush’s win in the Nov. 2 presidential election.The summit talks have been drawing particular attention with regard to the possible revelation of Bush’s stance on the North Korean nuclear issue after Roh opposed the use of military force against the reclusive nation in the process of addressing the issue.

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