International Trade

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Go East: Free trade agreement signed with Korea

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This landmark deal is the first of its kind between the EU and an Asian market. It will reduce tariffs on 97 per cent of all goods and services and is expected to result in £16bn worth of savings across the EU. 

“This landmark EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement marks a significant development in the UK’s bilateral relationship with Korea and represents a huge opportunity to increase trade between our two countries, to the benefit of business, consumers and economic growth,” says the PM David Cameron. 

“Korea has been one of Asia’s fastest growing economies in recent years but British companies have faced challenges to enter the market in the past. 

“This agreement, which is the most comprehensive FTA the EU has ever negotiated, dismantles those barriers and gives British business, large and small, an enormous opportunity to boost exports. I hope they will rise to the challenge.”

The Korea fact file:

  • (South) Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy and the 12th largest in the world. 
  • Bilateral trade with the UK is worth around £10bn per year. 
  • The UK was the number three destination for Korean overseas investment in 2010, and the number one inward investment destination in Europe.
  • The UK attracted around £2.25bn of Korean Investment in 2010: more than double that of any other European country. 
  • More than 200 Korean companies are already doing business in the UK. The largest investors include Doosan, Korea National Oil Company, Samsung and LG Electronics.
  • Samsung, the world’s largest electronics company, has a turnover greater than that of Apple, Google and Microsoft put together.
  • Korea has the highest level of broadband penetration (speeds of one hundred megabytes) and 3G mobile usage in the world (an area where it has a global lead in technology).
  • There are 15 Korean companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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