Britain, South Korea in talks to guard crude oil commerce

LONDON/SEOUL (Reuters) – Britain and South Korea are in talks to guard an association of tax breaks for Korean consumers of North Sea crude past Britain’s upcoming exit from the EU, officers from each international locations mentioned, though a breakthrough doesn’t look imminent.

Vessels which can be used for towing oil rigs within the North Sea are moored up at William Wright docks in Hull, Britain November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

An EU free-trade settlement has been in place since 2012 with South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economic system and final 12 months’s third-biggest importer of British North Sea crude, which is a big income for the United Kingdom.

Britain, which is attempting to forge new commerce relationships past Europe, will go away the EU subsequent March and revel in a status-quo transition till the tip of 2020, in accordance with the present plan.

The present commerce deal permits EU exporters to promote their oil to South Korean refineries tax-free, and Britain has been the largest beneficiary of this break.

A South Korean commerce ministry official who has been a part of the discussions, however declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to media, mentioned talks have been occurring between the 2 international locations on a brand new commerce deal.

“So far we have had two meetings after creating a so-called South Korea-UK trade working group. But as it’s not clear how details for the Brexit will be hashed out, at the moment, we have to wait and see.”

Talks between Britain and the European Union on their future commerce relationship after Brexit began this week.

A spokesman for Britain’s Department for International Trade mentioned the 2 sides maintain common discussions about how one can retain the commerce advantages, including the “government will support (the oil) sector to maintain (its) reputation.”

The first assembly of the commerce working group was held in Seoul in February 2017 and the second was in London in December. The South Korean official mentioned the date for his or her third assembly has not been set but.

Last 12 months, Korea imported 34.11 million barrels of British crude oil, up 83.5 % from 2016, making up three % of Korea’s complete crude imports, in accordance with information from state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

In the primary two months of this 12 months, South Korea imported 6.07 million barrels of British crude, down 1.67 per cent from a 12 months in the past.

Britain’s Department for International Trade mentioned its oil exports to South Korea in 2017 earned Britain two billion kilos ($2.81 billion) and made up 14 % of its complete oil exports, the largest share after the Netherlands and China.

In 2016, Britain exported oil to South Korea value 800 million kilos, or eight % of Britain’s complete oil exports.

($1 = zero.7114 kilos)

Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper, Editing by William Maclean

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