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South Korea clinches free trade deal with 5 Central American nations

South Korea completed a free trade agreement with five Central American nations Feb. 21 with an aim of increasing exports of cars, steel and cosmetics, The Korea Herald reported.

The Asian nation's trade minister Kim Hyun-chong signed the deal in Seoul with his counterparts from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, saying it is "an opportunity to build a comprehensive, strategic partnership among the nations."

The deal will remove tariffs of more than 95% of all products from the five Central American nations, the publication quoted the South Korean government as saying.

The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy expects the deal to drive growth in the country's gross domestic product, consumer benefits and job creation, according to the newspaper.