Brexit Britain handed £21bn win with major new investment

Britain and South Korea are set to sign a major £21billion trade, defence and technology deal.

The Downing Street Accord follows similar agreements with Singapore and Japan, coming as the UK seeks to bolster influence in the Indo-Pacific.

It comes as President Yoon Suk Yeol arrives in the UK for a three-day state visit.

It is expected that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr Yoon will formally sign the agreement in Downing Street on Wednesday (November 22).

Ahead of the visit, Mr Sunak pointed to the £21bn in investments which South Korean businesses will commit to the UK.

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Trade and investment are expected to be the focus of the trip, with Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch set to launch new negotiations on an upgraded free trade agreement.

The UK secured a free trade deal with South Korea in 2019, with the agreement largely aimed at keeping trade flowing post-Brexit and removing uncertainty.

Mr Sunak said: “Long term, global partnerships are vital to our prosperity and security, both today and in the future.

“As two nations focused on innovation, harnessing new technologies and defending the international rules-based order, the UK and Republic of Korea are natural partners.

“Through our new Downing Street Accord, we will drive investment, boost trade and build a friendship that not only supports global stability, but protects our interests and lasts the test of time.”

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The PM added: “These close ties have already propelled £21billion of investment between our countries.

“I know a free trade agreement fit for the future will only drive further investment, delivering on my promise to grow the economy and support highly-skilled jobs.”

The Downing Street Accord will see British and Korean militaries agree to step up joint training and operations, with the Asian state expected to agree to join with British ships on sanctions patrols.

No.10 said it will also see the two countries work closer together on technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), semi-conductors and quantum.

Science ministers will also sign a memorandum of understanding to boost space co-operation while South Korea will host next year’s AI summit after the first UK-backed gathering in Bletchley Park earlier this month.

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Ms Badenoch said: “The Government is upgrading our trade deal with South Korea to ensure that our trading relationship plays to the UK’s strengths as an advanced, high-tech economy.

“This refreshed, modernised deal will boost our world-leading services sector, while also creating new opportunities for UK exports such as in our world leading food and luxury goods sectors.”

Mr Yoon began his state visit on Tuesday with a welcome from King Charles and Queen Camilla.

The Downing Street Accord comes after similar agreements were struck with Singapore and Japan.

Mr Yoon’s trip to Britain coincides with the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the UK and Korea, as well as the 70th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean war.

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