Israel signs its first Free Trade Agreement with South Korea
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Israel signed its first Free Trade Agreement with South Korea on Tuesday, a move which Israeli officials say will place Israel on an equal competitive footing with the world powers Seoul already has FTAs with, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reports.
A global manufacturer, South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world and the first Asian country with which Israel has signed an FTA, JNS reports. The other 18 countries with which South Korea already has FTAs include the United States and the Europe Union.
The Israel-South Korea FTA will enter into force on December 1, JNS reports. Israel currently exports about $1.5 billion in goods annually to South Korea and imports $2 billion in products.
Discussing the benefits for Israel in the new FTA, Ohad Cohen, director of the Foreign Trade Administration in Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, the lead agency in negotiating the agreement, told JNS: “[South Korea is] definitely a very innovative country producing many technologies. We believe that the benefits for the Israeli economy from this FTA will be composed of two elements.”
“First, Israel will be able to export to South Korea duty-free,” Cohen said. “Second, South Korean imports will be exempt from customs duties.” An important part of South Korean exports to Israel are vehicles, on which there is currently a seven percent duty: “The new agreement means South Korean cars will be exempt from this customs duty. We hope that the Israeli consumer will be able to benefit from this reduction,” Cohen said.
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