Nick Clegg announces South Korea trade deal


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Indy Politics

Nick Clegg today underlined Britain's "commitment to fostering stronger trade links" with the world's fastest growing economies as he announced the UK had approved a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Korea during his visit to South Korea.

The Deputy Prime Minister signalled the agreement at a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, which he said could add £500 million per year to the UK economy and create £2 billion of additional export opportunities for UK businesses.

Bilateral trade between the two countries is already around £6.5 billion, while Britain is Korea's second largest European trading partner after Germany, with well over half of Korea's investment in the EU in 2010 and 2011 being in the UK.

In addition, Mr Clegg also unveiled a new Host2Host agreement, which it is hoped will position British firms to win contracts to help deliver sporting events including the Asian Games 2014, the World Student Games in 2015 and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018.

Mr Clegg said: "I'm delighted to be here in South Korea, and to be able to tell Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik that we have fully approved the Free Trade Agreement.

"It underlines the UK's commitment to fostering stronger trade links with the world's fastest growing economies. This FTA alone could add £500 million per year to the UK economy and create £2 billion of additional export opportunities for UK businesses.

"It marks a new and even stronger era for trade between the UK and South Korea, and will mean more jobs in the UK and a significant boost to our economy."

During his trip, the Lib Dem leader is expected to meet South Korean business leaders, UK businesses based there and examples of UK innovation in Korea.

He added: "The best of British design, innovation and services will have even greater opportunity to show their strength in South Korea. UK and Korean companies will be able to form alliances on multi-billion pound projects across the world."

Mr Clegg will also attend the Nuclear Security Summit on Tuesday where Britain is expected to press for greater information security as part of international efforts to prevent terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons.

The UK delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister will call for more vigilance about the spread of potentially dangerous information as world leaders gather in the the South Korean capital, Seoul.

Representatives from 53 nations, including US President Barack Obama, will discuss progress on attempts to "lock down" vulnerable nuclear materials.

It is feared that terrorists may get their hands on equipment or technology enabling them to launch a nuclear attack.

The potential for such a scenario is growing with the spread of nuclear technology and materials, particularly as more countries develop civil nuclear power.

While the focus of efforts since the first Nuclear Security Summit called by Mr Obama in 2010 has been on securing materials, Britain is to push for a similarly safety-first approach to information.

There are concerns that data that could be useful to terrorists, ranging from nuclear weapons designs and maps of nuclear sites to details about border controls, is too freely available, particularly on the internet.