UK and Korea to sign trade continuity deal to ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit

Thursday August 22nd, 2019

The UK and Korea will today (Thursday 22 August) sign a continuity Free Trade Agreement that will allow businesses to keep trading freely after Brexit on Thursday 31 October.Business Team

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss and the Korean Minister of Trade, Yoo Myung-Hee will meet in London to sign the agreement, protecting annual trade flows between the two countries, with total trade worth £14.6 billion in 2018.

This agreement, when brought into force, will allow businesses to keep trading freely after we leave the EU on 31 October, safeguarding British jobs in key sectors including manufacturing, technology and professional services.

The agreement will help to further strengthen the trading relationship between the UK and Korea that has already increased by an average of 12% per year since the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2011.

Trade continuity agreements signed so far now cover countries accounting for £89 billion of trade, an increase from £39 billion in March 2019.

The UK-Korea FTA replicates, as far as possible, the effects of the EU-Korea trade deal, allowing businesses to continue to benefit from preferential terms. In 2017, there were 6,900 British businesses exporting goods to Korea, worth around £5.8 billion.

The news has been welcomed by businesses in industries such as automotive, technology, renewable energy, retail and ceramics. Some of the fastest growing exports to Korea include the sale of British cars, which increased to £943 million in 2018, up by third on the year before.

Bentley’s exports of the British classic luxury car to Korea have gone from strength to strength, with a thirty-fold increase in exports between 2006 and 2015, from 10 cars driving on Korean roads in 2006 to over 380 in 2015.

Exports of ceramic products from the UK to Korea were around £17 million in 2018, an increase of 41% from 2010. Meanwhile, the UK exported £256 million of professional and management consulting services to the country in 2018, up by 8% from the previous year.

Denby, the 200-year-old company based in Derbyshire sells its 100% British-made ceramics in over 40 department stores in Korea, with its assortment of bowls proving especially popular.

The agreement signed today follows a joint statement on the terms of the agreement made by the two countries in June.

It also follows a joint statement agreed between Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs First Vice Minister in Seoul on Wednesday 21 August. The joint statement reaffirms our mutual commitment to human rights, counter-proliferation and trade liberalisation, and underlines both countries’ support for the rules based trading system.

The UK will publish the text of this agreement once it is laid in Parliament.

Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss MP said:

“My priority is to make sure that British businesses are fully prepared for Brexit and ready to trade on Thursday 31 October. That’s why I’m delighted to sign this trade deal today with one of the biggest markets covered by existing EU trade agreements.

It will allow businesses like Bentley and Denby to keep trading as they do today, and they will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit offers.”

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