Israel, South Korea put finishing touches on free trade agreement

In 2018, trade between Israel and South Korea amounted to $2.5 billion, an almost 15 percent increase over 2017.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel and the Republic of South Korea on Wednesday declared the conclusion of the joint negotiations on a free trade agreement.

In the presence of South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and Israel’s Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, the two countries concluded negotiations.

It is anticipated that the agreement will provide a competitive advantage and ease activity for Israeli exporters in the South Korean market, thus strengthening Israeli exports and increasing economic growth.

The Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration – in cooperation with a number of other ministries – led the negotiations over the past three years. The agreement is expected to advance bilateral relations as well as encourage trade in new areas.

In 2018, trade between Israel and South Korea amounted to approximately $2.5 billion, an almost 15 percent increase over 2017. South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world.

Upon the agreement’s taking effect, most Israeli exports to South Korea will be exempt from customs duties, including machinery and electrical equipment, mechanical devices, fertilizer, medical equipment, cosmetics, plastics, metals, fruit juices and wine.

From the other side, customs duties will be lowered on South Korean goods imported into Israel such as automobiles and automobile parts, refrigerators, medical equipment, electronic components, toys and games, plastics and chemicals.

South Korea is the leading global producer of memory components and the second largest producer of semi-conductors.

It is also the world’s largest shipbuilder and holds more than half of the global market. In the automotive sector, thanks mainly to the Hyundai-Kia group and its secondary suppliers, is one of the ten largest producers in the world.

South Korea currently has 15 free trade agreements with various countries and trading blocs, including the U.S., the EU, India and China.

Upon completion of the mutual ratification process, Israeli companies will benefit from equal trade terms and competition in the South Korean market.

In 2018, Israeli exports were at a record high and passed the $110 billion threshold. Trade agreements that have been signed recently, including with South Korea, will facilitate the continuation of this trend.

Minister Cohen said, “The free trade agreement with South Korea is an historic agreement, the first to be signed with an East Asian country that is one of the leading economies in the world.”