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

Andrew Cummings
June 12, 2019

31 as the new Brexit deadline to allow the country to find the best possible solution, which means the new agreement must be ratified by the date to be immediately implemented in November, Seoul's trade ministry said.

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.

International Commerce Secretary Liam Fox signed the take care of his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee in Seoul.

The settlement is roughly in accordance to the phrases of the existing Korea-EU FTA.

South Korean automakers were especially concerned over tariffs that could have resulted from a hard Brexit, as they exported one-point-six trillion won worth of automobiles to the United Kingdom a year ago. 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", Yoo said.

But beyond South Korea, the trade blocs and countries with whom agreements have been reached are not, in the main, star global economies.

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.

With the UK's ruling Conservative Party in the midst of a leadership contest amid an atmosphere of general political disarray, the format Brexit - the UK's exit from the European Union - will take is as yet unknown.

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

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