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South Korea UK trade deal prep begins

The UK is seeking input from businesses, industry bodies and individuals to help shape its negotiating strategy ahead of talks for an enhanced trade deal with South Korea.

An upgraded agreement will aim to build on the UK’s existing £14.3bn trading relationship, covering areas such as digital trade, enhanced climate provisions and support for SMEs.

Minister for trade policy Greg 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 government is seeking input on what areas of the UK-South Korea trading agreement should be improved or amended, with the deadline for views being 11:45pm on 2 February 2023.

Digital opportunity

Hands added that digitally delivered trade was a particular opportunity, accounting for 79% of British services exports to South Korea in 2020.

As well as dedicated help for smaller businesses, provisions for investment and digital trade, a new deal could see further the reduction of services restrictions to boost UK exports of financial and business services to Korea, which were worth £1.4bn in 2021.

The UK is also a top destination for South Korean green investment and this could be enhanced under a new agreement.

‘Natural partners’

Writing in the Express, Hands said the UK and South Korea are “natural partners”.

“The UK is the tech hub of Europe and South Korea is the beating heart of innovation in Northeast Asia,” he wrote.

“Together we can spearhead the cutting-edge innovations that are delivering jobs, generating growth and sharing prosperity across the length and breadth of both our nations.”

Pacific tilt

The UK and South Korea have already signed an agreement to strengthen supply chain resilience  amid global shortages such of key goods such as semiconductors.

South Korea is the 10th largest economy in the world and a top-three global producer of vital goods such as semiconductors and ships.

As part of its overall tilt towards the Pacific, the UK wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc, reports Reuters. South Korea is also looking to join the pact.

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