Reuters - 09 December 2022
Britain begins preparations for S.Korea trade talks
Britain began preparations on Friday for trade talks with South Korea, starting a consultation with businesses and individuals about what they want to see in a future free trade agreement.
The negotiation of trade deals around the world is a main plank of Britain’s vision for itself after leaving the European Union, and London is seeking to build ties with Asian countries as part of an Indo-Pacific tilt in its foreign policy.
Britain is yet to start formal trade talks with G20 member South Korea, and Britain said it wanted to ask businesses what they want from any future deal as it looks to expand the 14.3 billion pound ($17.5 billion) bilateral trading relationship.
"I’m delighted we are on the cusp of launching trade negotiations with another dynamic market in a fast-growing part of the world," junior trade minister 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."
South Korea is the third biggest producer of semiconductors in the world, and has signed an agreement with Britain to strengthen supply chain resilience in the face of shortages in that sector and others.
Britain has signed free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand since leaving the EU, and is in talks for trade deals with the likes of India, Mexico and Canada.
Britain also wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Those in favour of Brexit highlight the opportunities Britain’s independent trading policy can open up, but critics say Britain should have maintained closer ties with its closest and biggest trade partner, the EU, when it left.