By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Britain plan to kick off their bilateral free trade agreement this week to maintain the continuity of trade activities in line with London's departure from the European Union, the trade ministry said Wednesday.
South Korea has been closely monitoring London's divorce with the EU, as the separation would mean that its existing pact with the world's largest economic bloc will no longer be valid for Britain.
To avoid a possible hard landing, South Korea and Britain signed a free trade agreement in 2019 that will be implemented even after London formally leaves the bloc.
The new free trade deal will officially kick off on Jan. 1.
Trade between the two countries reached US$9.7 billion in 2019, with South Korea's outbound shipments to the European country estimated at $5.5 billion.
"Although Britain and the EU reached an agreement to avoid the no-deal Brexit, we believe that there could still be some difficulties for the time being after the complete departure starting January," an official from the trade ministry said.
The ministry vowed to make efforts to support South Korean firms exporting goods to Britain to avoid possible confusion.
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