Brazil and South Korea have maintained diplomatic relations for 60 years. In 2019, trade between the two countries reached BRL 9.1 billion and South Korean direct investments in Brazil totaled BRL 19.7 billion. Since then, there has been some expectation around a commercial agreement between Seoul and Mercosur, as well as bilateral exchanges in the areas of politics and economics, besides other sectors.
South Korean companies also have their eyes on the Brazilian government’s Investment Partnerships Program (PPI), hoping to take part in major infrastructure works.
However, the Brazilian government has faced pressure against inking deals with South Korea, predominantly coming from the National Industry Confederation (CNI). The organization claims that a Mercosur-South Korea deal would reduce the GDP of the majority of sectors of agriculture, the extractive industry, the transformation industry, and services. Projections made by CNI specialists show that, with the elimination of import tariffs, 51 Brazilian economic sectors would be harmed.
Brazilian industry representatives fear that South Korea is the world’s second-largest target of antidumping cases. Data from the World Trade Organization (WTO) show that, in 2008 and 2019, there were 148 measures directed toward Seoul for practices deemed as being dishonest. Only China received more complaints.
On the other hand, in an interview to The Brazilian Report, the South Korean Ambassador in Brazil, Kim Chan-Woo, affirmed that the agreements are highly beneficial to all parties, and would already have been finalized were it not for the Covid-19 pandemic. He also spoke about the interest of South Korean companies in investing in Brazil, saying that this would increase if administrative and tax reforms are approved.
Read the full interview below: