South Korea, UK agree to sign free trade deal ahead of Brexit

12 Juin, 2019, 13:00 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • South Korea, UK agree to sign free trade deal ahead of Brexit

The UK on Monday signed a preliminary free trade agreement with South Korea, securing its first post-Brexit deal in Asia.

South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and her British counterpart Liam Fox on Monday gave their approval in Seoul to the conditions of the "emergency bridge agreement" which will maintain practically the same tariff regime that exists between the two countries according to the FTA between South Korea and the European Union, reports Efe news.

Chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros, Mouhammed Choukeir commented: "in so far as a (UK-S Korea) deal has been struck that's a landmark moment". Considering high shipping costs, the appeal of North Sea Forties crude would fall without a separate trade deal, South Korea's biggest refiner SK Innovation Co. said in February.

Seoul and London agreed to adopt an existing free trade agreement between Korea and the EU, South Korea's trade ministry said in a statement.

According to the minister, the accord "will allow British and Korean businesses to keep trading and investing on the same terms as they do today".

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Last year, the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and South Korea was worth US$18.5 billion and has increased by an average of 12% per year since the EU-Korea FTA was signed in 2011, according to a communique from the UK's Seoul embassy. The agreement is roughly in line with the terms of the existing Korea-EU FTA.

South Korea - Asia's fourth largest economy - is a global leader in electronics, steel and auto industry.

U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox tweeted about the agreement on Monday.

The South Korea-EU FTA took three years to negotiate, was signed in 2010 and entered implementation in 2011. The two countries now need to seek ratification from their respective parliaments before October 31.

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