Anchor: South Korea and Britain reached an agreement to keep their current free trade terms intact even in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit. South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox reached the deal, minimizing the impact of Britain's divorce with the EU on bilateral trade between Seoul and London.
Kim Bum-soo has more.
[Sound bite: Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (English)]
“I am pleased to announce the conclusion in principle of a free trade agreement between the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom as an emergency bridge agreement as the U.K. leaves the European Union.”
South Korea and the United Kingdom agreed to maintain their current terms of free trade, signing a pact that will be put into effect when the U.K. leaves the European Union.
South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox held a meeting in Seoul on Monday, seeking to minimize the impact of Brexit.
[Soundbite: S. Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (English)]
"With the UK decision to leave the EU three years ago, there have been serious concerns of trade uncertainty among many UK and Korean companies. Both the South Korean and the UK governments agreed to take prompt actions to address these concerns."
[Sound bite: UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox (English)]
"Today, the UK and Korea have agreed in principle to a free trade agreement, ensuring the continuity of our trade relations as the UK exits the European Union. The agreement comes into force, subject to the relevant parliamentary procedures in both countries, and once the UK has left the EU, it will allow British and Korean businesses to keep trading and investing on the same terms as we do today."
Under the deal, the two countries will enjoy the same benefits provided under the South Korea-EU free trade pact after Brexit, which is scheduled to be finalized in October.
South Korean automakers had been concerned of a possible hard Brexit, under which ten percent tariffs could have been charged on one-point-six trillion won, or around one-point-35 billion U.S. dollars, worth of their shipments to the U.K.
Britain is Korea's second-largest trade partner in the EU, and trade between the two totaled 14-point-five trillion won last year.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.