South Korea Anticipates Economic Gains from Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

SEOUL — Following the establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba, South Korea's presidential office on Sunday projected positive economic outcomes for the country, particularly highlighting Cuba's abundant natural resources essential for electric vehicle (EV) battery production.

According to Yonhap News Agency, detailed the anticipated benefits across various sectors stemming from the new diplomatic relationship, emphasizing Cuba's substantial reserves of cobalt and nickel, critical minerals for EV production. The formalization of ties, which occurred in New York on Wednesday through an exchange of diplomatic notes between the countries' United Nations representatives, opens potential avenues for South Korean businesses in Cuba's mining sector. This prospect hinges on the potential lifting of the United States' economic and trade embargo against Cuba, which possesses the world's fifth-largest nickel reserves and fourth-largest cobalt reserves.

South Korea, housing three of the globe's top five EV battery manufacturers, could significantly benefit from access to these resources. The presidential office also identified opportunities in sectors such as daily necessities, home appliances, machinery, energy, medical, and biotechnology, acknowledging the challenges and limitations posed by U.S. sanctions but expressing commitment to laying the groundwork for economic cooperation with Cuba.

The government plans to establish a consulate in Cuba to support South Korean nationals visiting the country, noting the pre-pandemic annual visitation figure of approximately 14,000 Koreans.

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