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

South Korea trade deal on the table | Business

The UK has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in principle with South Korea that will ensure businesses from both countries can continue trading freely after Brexit.

South Korea will seek approval from its parliament and ratify the trade pact with Britain before October 31, the ministry said.

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.

Trade between the two countries was £14.6 billion ($18.6 billion, 16.4 billion euros) in 2018, and has risen by 12 per cent per year on average since the European Union signed a free trade deal with South Korea in 2011.

International Commerce Secretary Liam Fox signed the take care of his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee in Seoul. The agreement is roughly in line with the terms of the existing Korea-EU FTA.

And how detailed the outlined South Korea-UK deal - described as a "joint statement" in the British communique - is, remains unclear.

"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.

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

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

The UK is South Korea's second biggest trade partner in Europe after Germany.

According to the United Kingdom government, they are: the CARIFUM bloc - encompassing a clutch of Caribbean islands and Central American states - Chile, the Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway, Israel, Liechtenstein, Pacific States, the Palestinian Authority and Switzerland.

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