S. Korea, Britain to launch talks for FTA upgrade next month

SEOUL, - South Korea and Britain will begin negotiations for upgrading the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) next month in response to changing global business circumstances, Seoul's finance ministry said Monday.

The two countries inked the FTA in August 2019, and the pact went effect in January 2021, following Britain's departure from the European Union.

Last month, the two nations agreed to modernize the bilateral free trade deal, and the negotiations will be held starting January 2024, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said.

During his state visit to Britain in November, President Yoon Suk Yeol said the FTA has boosted the ties in such various fields as finance, logistics, service and bioscience between South Korea and Britain, and the envisioned upgrade will further strengthen cooperation on supply chains and digital trade.

"The two nations will also establish and activate new government-level consultative bodies soon for economy and finance, trade and investment, and nuclear power generation to implement agreed-upon measures meant to deepen economic relations with Britain," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said during a meeting of economy related ministers.

Meanwhile, South Korea decided to push for clinching a bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with eight emerging and high-potential nations, in an effort to diversify its trade portfolio, Choo said.

The nations are Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Serbia and the Dominican Republic.

An EPA is meant to establish a mutually beneficial trade network with partner nations beyond a simple market opening, though it covers a smaller scope of areas compared with a traditional free trade agreement.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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