South Korea eager for UK trade deal post-Brexit

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

South Korea wants to beat its other rivals in Asia to a deal with Britain after Brexit.

South Korea has said it is eager to sign a trade deal with the UK after Brexit and even wants to beat its fellow Asian nations in concluding negotiations.

The trade ministry in Seoul hosted a hearing this week to discuss how South Korea could benefit from having measures in place to ensure easy trade with Britain after it leaves the European Union.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, director of the Korea International Trade Association Park Chun-il said the country wants to get in before Japan and China to secure a free trade deal.

"It is important who can strike a better deal [with the UK] more quickly. l think the government is moving timely to be prepared in advance," he added.

However, EU leaders have reminded South Korea that member states are unable to negotiate deals with other countries while they are a part of the bloc, meaning formal talks will have to wait until after March 2019.

Statistics from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency show that more than 300 Korean companies are currently doing business in the UK, with trade between the two nations hitting $14.4 billion in 2017.

In December 2016, Britain and South Korea established a Joint Economic and Trade Committee to strengthen trade relations and two meetings were held last year as part of this.

Earlier this year, British secretary of state for international trade Liam Fox went to Seoul to talk with Korean business leaders, while prime minister Theresa May also held a bilateral meeting with Korean president Moon Jae-in.

On both occasions, government representatives reiterated their desire to maintain the excellent relationship that has been enjoyed between Korea and the UK during the latter's time in the EU.

There could be a sudden raft of new trade deals in Asia after Brexit, as British ministers have also expressed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact to strengthen relations with Japan, among other countries.