South Korea and the United Kingdom have agreed on a bilateral basis to adhere to the terms of the current free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The agreement reached on Monday between South Korea’s Minister of Commerce, Yu MyeongHee, and her British counterpart, Liam Fox, is the largest British preliminary free trade agreement not only in Asia, but also at the global level. In 2018, trade between the UK and South Korea amounted to $ 18.5 billion. Since the EU-South Korea agreement on free trade came into force in 2011, the trade turnover between London and Seoul has increased by an average of 12% annually, according to a communiqué from the British Embassy in Seoul.
London is currently seeking to reduce the risks associated with secession from the EU. South Korea is the most significant economy among the 12 countries and trade blocs with which the UK has now concluded free trade agreements that will be in effect after it leaves the EU.
The UK plans to leave the EU on October 31, 2019, the final release date can still be postponed. Under the conditions of such uncertainty, the preliminary agreement signed in Seoul allowed the British and South Korean businesses to breathe a sigh of relief.
British exporters of goods and services were very positive about the news about the future trade agreement between London and Seoul. “We are pleased with the news of the trade agreement, which will allow British firms to maintain their presence in the country,” said Graf Hughes, a representative of the law firm Clifford Chance.
According to the British government, trade agreements are currently signed with the following trade blocs and countries: CARIFUM, which includes the Caribbean and Central American states group, Chile, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway Israel, Liechtenstein, Pacific States, Palestine and Switzerland.
The free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea was signed in 2010 and entered into force in 2011. After the UK leaves the EU, any final free trade agreement with South Korea will first have to be ratified by the parliaments of both countries, only after that it will enter into force.