Government-backed trade shows in South Korea have helped UK businesses raise tens of millions of pounds in the last twelve months
UK exporters to South Korea have landed deals they estimate to be worth over £70 million following support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
UK-made products ranging from hydrogen fuel cells and offshore wind technology to lifejackets will be supplied to the South Korean market through deals made at DIT-supported trade shows in South Korea.
In fact, UK exports to this fast-growing nation increased by 9% (or £620 million) in the year to June 2021 compared to the same period the previous year.
South Korea is the tenth largest economy in the world and a growing market for exports of top-quality British products. The country forms a key part of UK’s strategic tilt to the Indo-Pacific region as we look for new opportunities to trade.
Trade between our two nations increased by 6% to total £13 billion in the year to June 2021, and the UK exported £2 billion more to South Korea than it imported.
DIT’s Pavilion showcase series - which provides stalls for UK companies to exhibit at overseas tradeshows - has enabled British firms to promote their products at South Korea’s largest events.
Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
As part of our Global Britain agenda we are helping businesses capitalise on the huge demand for British goods and services in South Korea. As the UK eyes future growth opportunities in the Indo-Pacific, we plan to strengthen trade ties with the region’s biggest economies.
We recently negotiated the world’s most ambitious digital trade deal with Singapore, and we’re on track to join the CPTPP this year, a huge free trade area with a combined GDP of £8.4 trillion.
The government also provided tailored export advice to improve firms’ understanding of the South Korean market and grow their network.
Some of the UK businesses that credit DIT’s support in contributing to deals brokered this year include:
Ceres Power - the green energy pioneer partnered with Korea’s Doosan on a major long-term deal to build a 50MW factory to produce its cells - worth at least £43 million over three years.
Intelligent Energy – the UK fuel cell manufacturer partnered with Edison Motors to bring its groundbreaking fuel cell technology to South Korea’s largest manufacturer of electric buses and trucks. The company will also work with Hogreen Air to test its fuel cell technology for drones.
Survitec – the Birkenhead-based safety and survival solutions firm - which designs and manufactures a wide range of goods from lifejackets to medical equipment and PPE – signed a contract worth £17 million over the next five years to supply its products to South Korea.
Oxford Instruments - a technology provider - signed a contract with a local automotive research institute to accelerate R&D and increase productivity following their first participation in a DIT pavilion event this year.
ORE Catapult – the cleantech firm agreed more than £7 million worth of deals for offshore wind with South Korean industry and R&D partners.
Quay Pharma – the British pharma company signed two contracts worth £1.2 million with Korean biotech firms, following a series of B2B meetings facilitated by DIT, with a growth projection of £6.2 million in three years’ time.
This year the government plans to review the Continuity Free Trade Agreement with South Korea which came into force on 1st January 2021.
The deal has already helped businesses across a wide range of sectors - including tech and clean growth – enter the South Korean market and with the growth in demand for British goods and services, there is scope to expand trade even further.
Minister for Exports Mike Freer said:
UK exports to South Korea boomed last year, with British businesses wrapping up deals worth tens of millions. We expect this trend to continue as we implement our new 12-point export strategy and build out our ambitious UK Tradeshow Programme.
Not only will this plan give businesses the tools needed to take their top quality products worldwide, but it also focuses support on SMEs and businesses outside London to help level up opportunities throughout the UK.
Joseph Lenox, Director of Business Development, Asia, Ceres Power, said:
Thank you always for the support from DIT and the Embassy in Seoul. We appreciate all of the effort that has gone into helping Ceres in Korea along the way and I look forward to continuing to stay close as progress our continued expansion.
Hyunjoo Lee, Knowledge Area Leader, Drive Trains, ORE Catapult, said:
DIT has done a great job facilitating our introduction to the South Korean wind industry. Thanks to them we have built excellent relationships with a variety of R&D partners including Kunsan University, XFINASIT and BlueWind. We look forward to working again with the DIT team in Seoul on future projects.
As part of the government’s recently announced Export Strategy to help boost exports per year to £1 trillion, DIT has launched a new UK Tradeshow Programme. Aimed at businesses outside London and the Southeast, the programme will enable companies to promote their products around the world, boosting trade and growth whilst supporting the government’s levelling up agenda.
This year DIT hosted UK Pavilions at six international exhibitions in South Korea in 2021 including: International Electric Vehicle Expo, Hydrogen Mobility Show and World Smart City Expo in September, KORMARINE and DIFA (Daegu International Future Auto Expo) in October, and H2 World in November.
The tradeshows were all delivered in line with local Covid protocols, e.g. temperature checks, masks, hand-sanitising and later in the year, vaccine certificates.
Trade data sourced from the latest ONS publication of UK total trade data. (Source: UK Government)
South Korea economic factsheet 2021
This factsheet provides key economic and development data for South Korea as of 2021
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