Israel, South Korea sign massive free trade deal

Photo: AP Gabi Ashkenazi

After many delays, Israel and South Korea announced they would sign a free trade pact next week, Reuters reported. On Sunday, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi and Minister of Economy and Industry Amir Peretz arrived for a three day visit to South Korea during which they will attend the formal signing of the deal in Seoul together with ministers from the Korean government.

The deal is meant to bolster bilateral trade by cutting out customs duties and offering safety nets on investments. Bilateral trade reached about $2.4 billion in 2020, about two thirds of it goods and services imported into Israel, official data showed. More than 95% of Israeli exports to South Korea will be customs-free under the accord. Further the deal will result in the cancellation of 7% customs duties on all Korean imports.

In 2020, Israel exported $890 million in goods and services to South Korea, while imports of goods and services exceeded $1.5 billion. In terms of imports from South Korea, customs duties will fall on vehicles and vehicle parts, refrigerators, medical equipment, electronic components, toys and games, plastic products and chemicals. Israel is working on similar deals with China, Vietnam and India.

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