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Firms urged to shape South Korea trade talks

South Korea (pic: Melody Zhang)
South Korea is a growth market (pic: Melody Zhang)

The UK Government has kickstarted negotiations with South Korea to enhance the existing trade agreement worth £14.3 billion.

Minister for Trade Greg Hands is inviting businesses, organisations and individuals to help shape the UK’s negotiating aims ahead of talks. 

Scotland exported £684m worth of goods and services to South Korea in 2021, which included drinks valued at £61m – an increase of 27% from the previous year.

Mr Hands said: “South Korea is a growing market for top-quality British products and services and forms a key part of the UK’s renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific region, securing stronger ties with economies of the future. 

“The opportunities increasing our trade with South Korea presents are significant, not least in digitally delivered trade, which accounted for 79% of UK services exports to South Korea in 2020.”  

The new agreement is expected to include dedicated help for smaller businesses, and provisions for investment and digital trade, which will support economic growth and jobs. Further liberalising of services provisions could also boost UK exports of financial and business services to Korea, already worth £1.4bn in 2021. 

The UK is already a top destination for South Korean green investment and could become an even more attractive country to do business in under a new deal.

Korean companies such as SeAH Wind are investing in the UK. SeAH has recently announced a £400m investment creating up to 750 jobs by 2030. 

South Korea is the tenth largest economy in the world and a top-three global producer of vital goods such as semiconductors and ships. In an increasingly unstable world, boosting trade with a likeminded democracy, and trusted ally, will improve security and resilience. 

The UK and South Korea have already signed an agreement to strengthen supply chain resilience confronting global shortages such as the shortage of semiconductors, which impacts products including medical equipment, computers and electric vehicles, and other supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.   

The agreement will help to ensure the smooth flow of key supplies between our two countries, which will help businesses and public services like the NHS to avoid supply shortages.

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