The British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung have signed the outline of a Free Trade Agreement that will go into effect as soon as the UK leaves the EU.

The deal envisages maintaining the current status quo, as well as the terms of the EU-South Korea free trade agreement to provide stability to their partnership in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The agreement should be ratified by the end of October as the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 31 October.

The UK’s trade relationship with 40 countries around the world is currently governed by EU trade regimes. These represent 11% of the UK’s total international trade. Since June 2016, agreements similar to the one concluded with South Korea have been signed with Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Chile.

South Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia and its leading exports to the UK are cars and ships, while the UK’s leading exports to South Korea are crude oil, cars, and whisky.

In 2018, UK-South Korean bilateral trade was worth €16.4 billion and has increased by 12% a year since the conclusion of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2011.

The UK is South Korea’s second biggest trade partner in Europe after Germany.