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September 9, 2020 9:58 am

Israel-South Korea Free-Trade Agreement in Final Stages

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet at the Blue House in Seoul, July 15, 2019. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO. – Israel and South Korea are in the final stages of reaching a free-trade agreement in the next few weeks.

Israel’s business daily Globes reported on Tuesday that talks between Jerusalem and Seoul have been ongoing for a few years but had been delayed for political reasons, are now bearing fruit. This, the report said, is partly due to the recent Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, “which rendered the agreement acceptable from the point of view of South Korea’s trade relations with the Arab world.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Globes that “the free-trade agreement with South Korea is in the final stages of drafting, and we hope that within a few weeks it will be possible to sign it. Advanced talks on a free-trade area are also taking place with China and Vietnam.”

According to the report, one of the key sectors to benefit from the agreement will be Israeli car importers, as the deal would remove the 7 percent duty on vehicles from South Korea and those produced by manufacturers in Europe that use many components made in South Korea.

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Nearly one-third of cars sold in Israel are from a South Korean manufacturer. In the first half of 2020, Hyundai Motors and its subsidiary Kia took 27 percent of the market share of new cars sold in Israel, according to the report.

A source in the vehicle import industry told Globes that the South Korean agreement also would lead to a free-trade agreement with Japan.

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