Britain agrees Brexit trade deal with S Korea

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The South Korean trade ministry has confirmed that Britain and South Korea have agreed to sign a free trade deal to come into effect after Brexit.

This agreement was reached during a meeting in Seoul on Monday between South Korea's trade minister Yoo Myung-hee and her British counterpart Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade in the UK.

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. 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. "We will make our best efforts to help South Korean businesses maintain their operations with Britain without troubles", Yoo added.

According to the minister, the accord "will allow British and Korean businesses to keep trading and investing on the same terms as they do today".

So far the United Kingdom has agreed "continuity" deals with 12 countries and regions, including Israel, Norway and Iceland, Switzerland and Chile.

"This means that whatever happens with #Brexit, there will be total continuity in trade between our two countries AND the basis for an ambitious future FTA [free-trade area] when we leave the EU", Fox tweeted. A source at the UK embassy noted that Monday's agreement to transition the EU-South Korea FTA to a South Korea-UK FTA, post-Brexit, does not provide a model for further transitions - such as the EU-Japan FTA.

The agreement will be formally signed once it has been subject to formal checks.

Currently, South Korea mainly exports cars and ships to the UK.

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

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