S. Korea, UK reach FTA 'in principle' for possible 'no deal' Brexit

Daniel Fowler
June 12, 2019

The deal envisages maintaining the current status quo, as well as the terms of the EU-South Korea free trade agreement to provide stability to their partnership in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

South Korea's trade ministry has reached an "emergency bridge" trade agreement with the United Kingdom to maintain their deal even if "no-deal" Brexit becomes a reality. If Britain leaves the European Union with an agreement it would have access to the bloc's 40 or so free trade agreements until the end of the transition period... Considering high shipping costs, the appeal of North Sea Forties crude would fall without a separate trade deal, South Korea's biggest refiner SK Innovation Co. said in February.

It would duvet South Korean exports along with vehicles and auto parts.

The two countries agreed to terms that will allow businesses to continue trading freely after Brexit, including under a no-deal scenario. Some changes were made to the existing Korea-EU FTA in the latest bilateral agreement.

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It is Britain's first post-Brexit trade deal in Asia and follows similar agreements with nations including Chile, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. It also appears to be preliminary: "This marks the end of formal trade discussions and the UK-Korea Free Trade Agreement will be subject to final checks before it formally signed", the communique read.

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".

By virtue of that agreement, the volume of trade between the two countries in 2018 reached about $13.17 billion according to data from the South Korean ministry.

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