UK exports to CPTPP applicant South Korea surge in 2022 as Trevelyan hails 'Global Britain agenda'

Thu 6 Jan 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

uk south korea

British exporters have seen a 9% increase in demand for their products and services in South Korea – an applicant to join the Pacific trade pact the UK has also prioritised joining.

Founded in 2018, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an 11-nation trade bloc to which South Korea, China, Taiwan and the UK are seeking to join.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that British firms saw a £620m surge in exports to South Korea last year.

According to City AM, trade between the UK and South Korea was worth just over £13bn between January and June 2021, with Britain exporting around £2bn more than it imported to the ninth largest economy in the world.

“As part of our Global Britain agenda – we are helping businesses capitalise on the huge demand for British goods and services in South Korea,” Trevelyan said.

‘Trend will continue’

Minister for exports, Mike Freer, added: “UK exports to South Korea have boomed this year, with British businesses wrapping up deals worth tens of millions. We expect this trend to continue as we implement our new 12-point export strategy and build out our ambitious UK Tradeshow Programme.”

Wind turbines, life jackets, PPE and hydrogen fuel cells were among the export winners, reports the Express.


The UK and South Korea agreed a continuity deal in 2019 to maintain the trading arrangements the UK previously had with the country as a member of the EU.

It was the first such deal that the UK managed to secure as an independent trading nation in Asia following Brexit.

Trade between the UK and Korea has increased by an average of 12% per year since the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2011.

Asian tilt

The UK has been increasingly focused on the Asia Pacific region since its departure from the EU.

While the UK has prioritised joining the CPTPP, it agreed free trade deals with CPTPP members Australia and New Zealand last year.

Other CPTPP members are in the UK’s sights.

Trevelyan has promised 2022 will be a “five-star year for the UK’s trade agenda”, with formal negotiations on deals with Canada, Mexico, the Gulf Cooperation Council and India lined up.


The UK signed an economic partnership deal with Japan – another CPTPP member - in 2020, which it hopes will smooth the application process.

Exports to Japan were worth £6bn in 2020 according to the ONS.

Singapore and Mexico

Britain also agreed a digital trade deal with CPTPP member Singapore in December. The government says the trading relationship is worth £16bn.

A continuity deal was agreed with Mexico, where Britain exported £1bn of goods in 2020, though this was down from £1.6bn in 2019, according to figures in a Lords committee report.