Israel and South Korea are set to enter a free trade agreement this week, with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Economy Minister Amir Peretz set to fly to Seoul on Sunday morning.
South Korea is the first country in Asia with which Israel has a free trade agreement, and Israel is the first in the Middle East to sign such an agreement with Seoul. South Korea is the 12th-largest economy in the world and Israel’s third-largest trading partner in Asia.
The Foreign Ministry said the free trade agreement is expected to significantly increase trade between Israel and South Korea and give Israeli industry a competitive advantage, as well as lower the cost of Korean products imported to Israel.
The countries will also sign an agreement to double the budget of KORIL-RDF, a joint research and innovation fund for companies in Israel and South Korea.
The Israeli ministers are expected to meet with their Korean counterparts, as well as the chairman of the National Assembly in Seoul and other senior Korean figures.
Ashkenazi said “South Korea is one of Israel’s greatest trade partners in Asia and has the greatest potential. Our visit comes at the end of years of hard work... to promote a free trade agreement that will strengthen Israel’s economy and reduce the cost of living in Israel.”
Peretz explained that Israel’s exports to South Korea rose in recent years, and he expects the trade agreement to continue that trend.
“Increasing and broadening exports are part of the significant engines of growth for the Israeli economy, which will help us get out of the coronavirus crisis,” Peretz said. “I hope our citizens will enjoy lower prices on cars, cell phones and other products arriving from Korea.”