`Cool Britannia' lifts exports to South Korea

British exports to South Korea leapt by 25 per cent last year, according to the latest figures compiled in Seoul. But the good news is mixed with concern that a campaign against imports of luxury Western goods is hitting British trade.

Britain exported $2.9bn (pounds 1.8bn) worth of goods to South Korea last year, up from $2.4bn the year before. It is gaining market share over other EU countries: though Germany and Italy both export more ($7.2bn and $3.1bn respectively), Britain's increase in exports is far greater than the average EU increase of 17 per cent. Britain is the seventh-largest exporter to Korea, behind the US, Japan, China, Germany, Australia and Italy. Britain imported $3.2bn worth of goods from Korea in 1996, leaving a small and shrinking trade deficit.

South Korea, one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia, is a leading target for exporters around the world. It has recently gained entry to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and has an average growth rate of about 8 per cent per annum, though growth slowed last year.

British business and government have put considerable time and effort into promoting trade and investment relations with Korea, and the evidence is that this is paying off. The biggest growth in exports in the past year has been in machinery - printing machinery, machine tools, engineering components - electrical machinery and aerospace goods. This year, Britain is hoping to capitalise on its strengths in the Korean market through a series of trade shows, visits and exhibitions linked to the bicentenary of the first Briton to arrive in Korea.

One of the key aims is to shift the perception of Britain from the traditional idea of a nation steeped in history but ill-suited to produce modern goods, and to promote a kind of "Cool Britannia" image of a country which is modern, technologically skilled and fashionable. Among the companies to promote their goods will be Paul Smith, the leading men's clothes designer.

But something of a shadow has been cast over trade relations by a strenuous campaign in Korea against luxury Western goods. The Korean government has become concerned by the rise in the country's trade deficit, which it blames partly on the taste of the nation's wealthy for the trappings of the Western good life. British officials and businessmen say that this is translating into administrative restrictions on imports. The Korean government rejects this, saying that no official action has been taken.

British officials claim there is tax discrimination against whisky imports in favour of local spirits. But there have also been protest rallies against Western spirits, and British officials say Korean officials are impeding the import of whisky through extra paperwork and customs checks. Similar problems afflict exports of silk ties and cosmetics.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect