Majority of traders want UK-South Korea trade deal to reduce tariffs, webinar poll finds

Wed 14 Dec 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
IOE News

UK South Korea flags

Over half of British traders want a reduction of tariffs to be the focus of the next UK-South Korea trade deal, according to a recent webinar poll.

On the latest in the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) series of Exporting Voucher Scheme webinars yesterday (13 December), hundreds of attendees were asked their opinion on what they wanted from an updated UK-South Korea agreement.

Start of negotiations

As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, the government is seeking input from businesses, industry bodies and individuals to help shape its negotiating strategy ahead of talks for an enhanced trade deal.

Slightly more than half (50.8%) of the respondents said they wanted a reduction in tariffs, whilst 13.8% cited investment opportunities as a key focus. Mutual recognition of qualifications and easier visas were picked by 4% and 2.3% respectively.

Andy Bridges, a trade and customs consultant at the IOE&IT and one of the presenters on the webinar, said: “Looking at the poll results, I am not surprised that a reduction in tariffs has topped the poll. After all, as an exporter the main thing you want to see is as little tariff duty as possible to enhance the value of your product.”

Investment opportunities

Suzanne Alecrim, another trade and customs consultant and fellow webinar presenter, commented on the desire from traders for more investment opportunities.

“Investment in trade deals allows full and fair access to invest across the UK and our domestic companies can benefit from this inward investment.”

Alecrim gave the example of South Korean company K-Power, which is looking to invest in Liverpool for the Mersey Tidal Power Project. She said:

“This type of investment could help fuel green energy in the area, as well as to bring in investment into the Merseyside freeport tax sites.

“The trade deals now being negotiated and updated are more proactive towards responding to the global climate crisis, focus more on sustainable carbon neutrality and aim to reduce emissions. Therefore investment opportunities like in the South Korea trade deal are important for economic growth in the UK”.

Services

Mutual recognition of qualifications and easier rights to work in a country are typically seen as benefits for services traders, whereas tariffs are preferred by those importing or exporting goods.

Henriette Gjaerde, an expert on trade in services, commented:

“Looking at the results of the poll, we see that a majority of businesses is focusing on the benefits the trade agreements brings them on trade in goods, and less on services.

“However, based on previous research done by the IOE&IT, we have seen that many are also not sure if their business is involved in trade in services. Based on this, some businesses might be missing out on the benefits and new opportunities trade agreements can bring on services as well as goods.

“Therefore it is important that we focus on highlighting the benefits of the trade agreements, and provide information and training in order to help businesses make the most out of the UK’s trade agreements.”

Share your views

The IOE&IT acts as an interlocutor between its members, the wider trader community and the government on UK economic and trade policy.

To submit your views and feedback on the UK’s trade deal negotiations with South Korea, please contact us at clientservices@export.org.uk.