By Daniel Hunter

The Opportunity Korea programme of events around the country to help British small and medium sized businesses unlock trade opportunities in South Korea was launched today (Monday) by UK Trade & Investment.

The initiative was launched with an event at Lancaster House in London, with speakers including Business Secretary Vince Cable, Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green and International Airlines Group Chief Executive Willie Walsh.

Four more events are being held this week in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol to highlight opportunities for SMEs and offer support and advice on exporting to South Korea.

Speaking ahead of the event, Vince Cable said: “South Korea is one of the world’s biggest economies and I have seen for myself the dynamic pace of growth there, and the significant potential for British business this presents.

“Investment in infrastructure projects and other major economic opportunities mean it is vital for UK companies of all sizes to maximise their own potential to export to South Korea. The skills, innovation and expertise we have in the UK can put us at the forefront of trade with this growing and vibrant economy.”

Lord Green added: “South Korea is set to make the 10th largest contribution to world growth over the next five years and will become one of the most attractive export destinations globally. We want to see UK firms secure more successes this year and in the coming years. There here has never been a better time to start exporting to South Korea and I urge British companies of all sizes to explore their own potential and take advantage of the support UKTI can give them.”

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airlines Group said; “I am delighted that British Airways has resumed services to Seoul six times a week. It’s a booming city that offers fantastic opportunities for business and leisure with its industry, leading edge technology, excellent cuisine, fascinating history and rich culture. It is a mega city in every sense of the word — and British Airways is proud to provide the air links between the global powerhouse of South Korea to London via our home hub in award winning Terminal 5 at Heathrow.”

Stephanie Hyde, head of UK regional business at Pricewaterhouse Coopers said: "With UK forecasts continuing their low trajectory, businesses already exporting to emerging economies such as China, India and Mexico, should look at increasing their activity to other regions. With strong industrial development and a growing, aspirational middle class, companies thinking of exporting to emerging economies like South Korea should be reassured that such markets can represent a significant opportunity to boost sales and increase profits.

"By having the right package of support and putting export at the heart of their strategy, businesses can succeed in reinvigorating their financial performance."

As the 12th largest economy worldwide and the fourth largest in Asia, there is great potential for UK businesses of all sizes to do business in South Korea. The introduction of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and high recognition of UK brands and products, the country is potentially one of the top overseas markets for British companies with numerous and varied opportunities for export.

Delegates attending Opportunity Korea events will be able to meet and hear from experts in doing business in South Korea including the British Ambassador Scott Wightman. In addition, representatives from British businesses already operating in South Korea will be attending to share their insights on the routes and culture of doing business there.

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