FM Ashkenazi to Travel to S. Korea to Sign Historic Free Trade Deal

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel will sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea this week, marking the first such arrangement with an Asian market, Israel‘s economy ministry said on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is set to fly to Seoul on Sunday, and will be accompanied by Economy Minister Amir Peretz. The two Israeli officials are scheduled to participate in a signing ceremony with senior Korean government officials during an official three-day visit. The FTA is also South Korea’s first with a country in the Middle East.

The deal is meant to bolster bilateral trade by cutting out customs duties and offering safety nets on investments. Bilateral trade reached about $2.4 billion in 2020, about two thirds of it goods and services imported into Israel, the ministry said.

More than 95% of Israeli exports to South Korea will be customs-free, the ministry said. Israel is working on similar deals with China, Vietnam and India, it added.