Britain agrees Brexit trade deal with South Korea

Galtero Lara
Junio 12, 2019

It is created to prevent Britain falling on to default World Trade Organisation terms with South Korea in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and her British counterpart Liam Fox announced after a meeting in Seoul on Monday that the two countries agreed in principle on a Korea-U.K. free trade agreement (FTA).

The agreement, which would cover South Korean exports such as cars and auto parts, still needed to go through final checks before being signed. South Korea exports largely vehicles and ships to Britain, while it imports crude oil and vehicles.

"The deal is significant as it eased uncertainties sparked by Brexit, amid the already challenging environment for exports on the escalating trade row between Washington and Beijing", Ms Yoo said.

Britain, Seoul's second-largest trading partner among the European Union members, is the 18th-largest trading partner for Asia's fourth-largest economy, accounting for less than 2 percent of its overall trade.

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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.

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "This is a welcome step which, if confirmed soon, will hopefully kick start the process of signing further trade agreements with other vital trading partners".

It is Britain's first post-Brexit trade deal in Asia and follows similar agreements with nations including Chile, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, AFP said.

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