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In May 2007, the European Union and South Korea started negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement. It took effect on 1 July 2011.

This deal is part of the EU’s post-2006 "Global Europe" strategy to boost the competitiveness of EU corporations in the world by securing deeper commitments to neoliberal policies from trading partners, including expanded rights for European transnationals. In Korea, the European Union is trying to win equal, if not better, footing against US firms after the conclusion of the US-Korea FTA. (The EU makes stronger demands than the US on Korea in the areas of intellectual property, services, competition policy and environmental standards.)

Social movements from both sides mobilised against the deal’s potential impacts. One flashpoint of concern is for Korea’s agricultural sector, where pig farmers in particular are expected to suffer from an influx of subsidised EU pork as a result of this deal.

last update: May 2012
photo: European External Action Service - EEAS/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

S Korea-EU FTA imminent
The South Korea-European Union free trade agreement is at the final stage of negotiations, Yonhap reported Wednesday.
EU and Korea fail to conclude free trade deal
Leaders from the European Union and South Korea called for a quick conclusion to the ongoing discussions over a free trade agreement after a summit between the two sides in Seoul on Saturday (23 May) failed to produce a breakthrough.
EU agrees to final push in South Korea trade talks
EU governments renewed on Friday their support for wrapping up floundering free trade talks with South Korea, a European Commission spokesman said.
Removing the Korea-EU FTA beef imports provision
As negotiations for the South Korea-European Union free trade agreement (Korea-EU FTA) race into their final stages, the inner workings are starting to come to light.
EU’s response key to success of FTA
A successful conclusion to the free-trade agreement talks between Korea and the European Union will hinge on the EU’s understanding of Korea’s need for the duty drawback measure, Seoul’s chief FTA negotiator said yesterday.
Don’t proceed with haste on the Korea-EU FTA
South Korea and the European Union (EU) failed to finalize their negotiations on a free trade deal. The failure comes as both sides were unable to narrow the gap on the so-called ’duty drawback issue,’ although they ironed out differences in almost all other remaining areas.
EU, Korea failed to finalize trade pact in London
South Korea and the European Union failed on Thursday to finalize a free trade deal, South Korean officials here said, adding they would seek a way to conclude the deal. South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon and his EU counterpart Catherine Ashton met here to narrow differences on some remaining sticky issues, including a so-called duty drawback scheme and rules of origin, but failed to wrap up the agreement.
Tentative Free Trade Deal for S. Korea and Europe
South Korea and the European Union on Tuesday reached a tentative agreement to scrap tariffs on goods traded between them, a deal that, if ratified, would send a strong signal on free trade at a time of rising protectionist tendencies.
South Korea, EU Reach Agreement On FTA
Negotiators of South Korea and the European Union (EU) reached a tentative agreement on Tuesday over their free trade agreement (FTA), South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
`Korea-EU FTA to be concluded next month`
If ratified, the agreement will create the world’s second-largest free trade zone after NAFTA and create pressure to ratify the US-Korea FTA.


  • EU-Korea FTA SIA
    The EU-Korea FTA Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is intended to produce studies in order to provide a deeper understanding of the sustainability impacts of the trade and investment aspects of the Free Trade Agreement and of the mechanisms through which they might affect both the EU and Korea.