UK exporters sealed over £70 million in sales to South Korea during 2021, with the help of trade shows backed by the UK government.

British-made products ranging from hydrogen fuel cells to life-jackets and offshore wind technology will be exported to South Korea through deals made at trade shows backed by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Last year, the DIT hosted UK Pavilions at six international exhibitions in South Korea.

In September, the DIT took part in the International Electric Vehicle Expo, the Hydrogen Mobility Show, and the World Smart City Expo.

This was followed by the KORMARINE and the Daegu International Future Auto Expo (DIFA) in October, and the H2 World in November.

Trade show success stories

The DIT’s Pavilion showcase series provides stalls for UK companies to exhibit at overseas trade shows.

In South Korea, it enabled British firms to promote their products at some of the country’s largest expos, and also provided tailored export advice to help British firms understand the South Korean market and grow their network.

Among the UK businesses that credit DIT’s support for deals made with South Korean buyers are Ceres Power, Intelligent Energy, and Survitec.

Ceres Power, a green energy company, 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, a fuel cell manufacturer, partnered with Edison Motors to bring its fuel cell technology to South Korea’s largest manufacturer of electric buses and trucks. It will also work with Hogreen Air to test its fuel cell technology for drones.

And Survitec, a manufacturer of life-jackets, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment, signed a contract worth £17 million over the next five years to supply its products to South Korea.

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A rising market for British exports

In a press statement, the DIT said that South Korea is a fast-growing market for British exports.

In the year to June 2021, UK exports to South Korea rose 9% year-on-year to £7.5 billion.

This amounts to an extra £620 million in sales for British exporters compared to the same period one year earlier.

Overall, in the year to June 2021, trade between the UK and South Korea was worth £13 billion, giving the UK a £2 billion trade surplus.

The DIT added that South Korea forms a key part of the UK’s “strategic tilt” to the Indo-Pacific region, as the UK looks for new opportunities for post-Brexit trade.

“As part of our Global Britain agenda, we are helping businesses capitalise on the huge demand for British goods and services in South Korea,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, secretary of state for international trade.

“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 Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership [CPTPP] this year – a huge free trade area with a combined GDP of £8.4 trillion.”

This year, the UK government also plans to review its Continuity Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, which came into force on 1st January 2021.

The DIT said the deal has already helped British businesses across a 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.