Foreign Secretary Willam Hague has welcomed the introduction on 1 July of the new EU - Korea Free Trade Agreement, which will remove 97% of tariffs on trade in goods and has the potential to benefit the UK economy by £500 million annually.
This is the most ambitious trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU, and is expected to double bilateral EU-Korea trade from its current level of around €76 billion in the next twenty years, as well as eliminating many non-tariff barriers.
The agreement will result in new opportunities for UK companies particularly in legal and financial services, and ICT and low-carbon businesses who are keen to bring their world-class technology and cutting-edge design to South Korea.
One of the first UK companies to benefit from this agreement will be the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company, which has been awarded a contract worth £25 million, to supply the Republic of Korea Air Force with the very latest ejector seats for their F5 fighter jets. It brings the total value of orders received by Martin Baker from Korea to over £100 million.
Announcing the contract at a reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 19 July, the Foreign Secretary said:
“I am delighted that on 1 July the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement came into force. It is the most ambitious trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU. The UK was the champion of this agreement and we are and will remain the leading advocate of free trade in the EU.
“We are working to build on the success of the EU-Korea FTA, by pushing for FTAs with other major and emerging economies. Although these negotiations can be tough, we firmly believe that the prize is worth it.”
“I am pleased to announce today that Martin-Baker Aircraft Company has been awarded a contract, worth £25 million, to supply the Republic of Korea Air Force. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will continue to work hard with government partners to support the UK’s commercial objectives overseas and to encourage investment here.”