TheCityUK welcomes the State Visit of the President of the Republic of Korea to the UK and calls on South Korean regulators to implement Free Trade Agreement provisions.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of TheCityUK, commented:
"South Korea is a hugely valued partner to the United Kingdom; and this State Visit provides a welcome opportunity to take stock of the current state of bilateral trade and investment links between our two countries. Just over two years ago the ground-breaking EU-Korean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force. TheCityUK strongly supported the ratification of that agreement, because it not only included significant reductions in tariffs but also set out comprehensive provisions for the liberalisation of the barriers imposed on financial and professional services.
"Since the FTA came into force there has been a significant improvement of trade in goods and services. However, the FTA's provisions governing trade in services are taking longer to come into effect. For example, EU financial services firms operating in Korea are still unable to process data offshore, even though the provisions lifting these restrictions were due to come into effect within two years.
"TheCityUK calls on Korean regulators to respect the full terms of the FTA provisions, so that Seoul can come into line with other global financial centres in removing barriers to services – including cross-border data processing. We believe that further regulatory reform in Korea would benefit both Korea and the UK in encouraging the development of closer ties between our respective financial and professional services.
"TheCityUK will continue to encourage the EU to conclude similar comprehensive trade and investment agreements with other major partners, as it has done with Korea. This is particularly important for the current Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, as market access and regulatory coherence coverage are vital to unlock the full potential of that agreement."