Friday, 23 August, 2019

S Korea, UK negotiate FTA to address possible hard Brexit

South Korea trade deal on the table | Business South Korea, UK agree to sign free trade deal ahead of Brexit
Russell Knight | 12 June, 2019, 13:00

The two countries now need to seek ratification from their respective parliaments before October 31.

The deal agreed on Monday has the same benefits offered by the current Korea-EU agreement, and the two nations will further strengthen cooperation in areas including agriculture, automobiles and energy, South Korea's trade ministry said in the statement. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signed the deal with his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee in Seoul. The agreement is roughly in line with the terms of the existing Korea-EU FTA.

"The deal is necessary because it eased uncertainties sparked by Brexit, amid the already interesting surroundings for exports on the escalating substitute row between Washington and Beijing", Ms Yoo said.

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

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Whether it is Johnson, Hunt or one of the other contenders, political experts view Brexit as a poisoned chalice. MPs backed the process for leaving the bloc by triggering Article 50 to end Britain's membership on March 29.

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Trade between the two countries amounted to £14.6bn-worth last year and has increased at an average clip of 12% a year since 2011.

At a time when London is scrambling to reduce the risks posed by Brexit, G11 South Korea is the most significant economy among 12 nations and trading blocs that the United Kingdom has so far agreed to establish free trade agreements with after the country leaves the EU.

The UK is pushing to strike agreements with its procuring and selling partners as the Brexit closing date looms. 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.

Since June 2016, agreements similar to the one concluded with South Korea have been signed with Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Chile.

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