South Korea said on Tuesday it had agreed a free trade pact with Colombia after 30 months of talks, in what was hailed as a win-win deal for both sides.
Visiting South Korean Trade Minister Park Tae-Ho and his Colombian counterpart Sergio Diaz-Granados signed a joint statement declaring the end of negotiations in Bogota Monday.
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos attended the ceremony, at which the two sides in a joint statement described the pact as "mutually beneficial to both sides".
Lee, quoted by Yonhap news agency, said his country would treat Colombia as a gateway to South America while Colombia would use South Korea as a gateway to Asia.
An initial agreement is expected to be signed in the second half of this year, removing tariffs on most traded products within a decade after the deal goes into effect.
Colombia accounts for only a small part of Korea's trade. Last year, exports made up mainly of cars and car parts totalled $1.61 billion while imports were worth $381 million.
But Lee told Colombia's El Tiempo newspaper Sunday he expects South Korea's trade with Colombia to jump fivefold over the next five years once the deal is in force.
South Korea has signed an extensive range of free trade deals to support its export-dominated economy.
It has pacts with the United States, the European Union, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Singapore, Peru, Chile and the European Free Trade Association (Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland).