Trade Minister Bark Tae-ho, right, shakes hands with Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados after signing a free trade agreement in Seoul

Colombia’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados, who was in Seoul last week to sign a free trade agreement with Korea, hoped the new accord will boost agricultural goods exports to Korea.

“For us, the main objective is export promotion in terms of agribusiness,” he told The Korea Times during an interview at the residence of Colombian Ambassador to Korea Jaime Alberto Cabal in Seoul, Thursday.

“We have yogurt, cheese, dairy products that you’ll really like.”

This is part of Bogota’s effort to diversify its oil-driven economy. A couple of other free trade accords also were recently signed, including ones with the United States and the European Union.

The agreement with Korea came after three years of negotiations. Ratification from each country’s legislature is required.

Diaz-Granados said the negotiation process was rather smooth because the two countries have a “complementary” economic structure.

Agriculture in Colombia is dominated by coffee, bananas and flowers. Some coffee products are already in the Korean market.

The minister said Colombia is keen on bringing in technologies and know-how from Korea in building energy-related infrastructures. Despite abundant natural resources, the country lacks technologies to explore and process it.

The minister expressed personal affection to the agreement, for which he had traveled five times to Korea.

“It’s like having a baby. Now we have to feed and nurture it in order to create new opportunities.”