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UK and South Korea launch FTA negotiations and sign a Science and Tech deal – What’s in it for tech?

The United Kingdom and South Korea bilateral relationship is poised for a significant leap forward as the two countries yesterday launched negotiations on a new trade deal. This comes as the UK and South Korea also sign a Science and Technology deal to boost cooperation in AI, quantum computing, semiconductors and space technology.

The launch of FTA negotiations is a step in the right direction for UK-South Korea tech and trade relationship. The existing trade deal between the UK and South Korea, established more than a decade ago, lacks provisions that cater to the contemporary digital economy. With an overwhelming majority of UK services exported to Korea digitally, securing modern digital provisions in the updated agreement becomes imperative. This move could unlock vast prospects for UK businesses, especially in the technology and services sectors.

It's estimated that the current £16 billion annual trade relationship between the UK and South Korea could experience a substantial boost with the new agreement in place. The announcement of a record £21 billion investment from Korean businesses into green energy and infrastructure projects across the UK further solidifies the depth of this bilateral relationship. South Korea, ranking as the 13th largest economy globally, is also a leader in hardware and electronics manufacturing.

In terms of the Science and Technology partnership deal, the UK and South Korea have committed to working closer together on AI, quantum, semiconductors, and space technologies. Specifically, a new framework has been developed for Semiconductor Cooperation to enhance collaboration on skills, R&D, supply chain resilience and trade. There will also be a £4.5 million fund created by the Royal Society and National Research Foundation of Korea for joint research and innovation partnerships.

techUK looks forward to working with our members, the UK government and sister organisations in Korea to help take our trading relationship to the next level.

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