UK signs post-Brexit free trade deal with South Korea

  • The UK and South Korea have signed an in principle free trade agreement (FTA) that seeks to maintain existing trade arrangements post-Brexit.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signed the deal with his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee in Seoul.

The preliminary agreement marks the first post-Brexit trade deal the UK has secured in Asia.

The agreement is roughly in line with the terms of the existing Korea-EU FTA.

It would cover South Korean exports including cars and auto parts. South Korea exports mostly cars and ships to Britain, while it imports crude oil and cars.

The agreement is designed to provide stability under a no-deal Brexit, with the UK due to leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal.

“The deal is significant as it eased uncertainties sparked by Brexit, amid the already challenging environment for exports on the escalating trade row between Washington and Beijing,” Ms Yoo said.

Both countries aim to ratify the deal by the end of October, and implement it in November.

South Korea – Asia’s fourth largest economy – is a global leader in electronics, steel and auto industry.

The country’s exports to the UK hit $6.36bn (£5.0bn) last year.

The UK is South Korea’s second largest trading partner among EU members, and the Asian nation’s 18th largest trading partner.