Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Korea - Britain: Lee, Cameron agree to bolster trade, investment

via Yonhap NA, Seoul, Korea

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to further boost their ties in trade and investment as they met Thursday ahead of the opening of the G-20 summit.

The leaders shared the view that the free trade agreement (FTA) signed between South Korea and the European Union last month would help expand their countries' bilateral commerce, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"(The two leaders) agreed to work together for the Korea-EU FTA to take effect on July 1 next year as planned," it said in a press release.

Lee and Cameron also exchanged views on "the two countries' close cooperation in their preparations for the G-20 summit" and "expressed satisfaction with their friendly and cooperative bilateral relations, which continue to develop across all areas based on the common principles of democracy and market economy," it added.

Two-way trade amounted to US$6.7 billion last year, with South Korea exporting $3.8 billion worth of goods, including wireless phones, ships and autos. Imports from Britain, comprising mainly of steel parts, medicine, medical supplies and alcoholic beverages, reached $2.9 billion.

Britain was the largest investor in South Korea last year, spending $10 billion in the banking, insurance and retail sectors, among others, while South Korea invested $5.46 billion in Britain's sales, distribution, shipping and financial services sectors.