logo logo


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

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 trade chief certain FTA can clear car hurdle
The European Union’s trade chief is confident she can convince member states to back a free trade pact with Korea, despite fierce opposition from the bloc’s embattled car industry.
S Korea, EU to hold talks on inter-session FTA
South Korea and the European Union (EU) will hold a high-level meeting in Brussels this week to settle controversial issues such as auto trade and rules of origin in their free trade negotiations
Whisky producers turn screw on Seoul
The Scotch Whisky Association will this week call on the European Union to step up the pressure on South Korea to lower its punitive 20% import tariffs in a groundbreaking free trade agreement that will help unlock the fifth largest whisky market in the world.
S Korea, EU free trade talks delayed
South Korea and the European Union (EU) agreed to delay their upcoming free trade talks by two to three weeks, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said Wednesday.
EU downplays delay to Korean trade deal
The EU intends to move ahead with a free-trade agreement currently being negotiated with South Korea despite delays and grumbles from the European car industry.
British finance lobby calls for EU-S.Korea trade deal
International Financial Services London, representing banks, accountants and other financial industries, said it was disappointed that some European manufacturing groups opposed the deal and were calling for negotiations to be suspended.


  • 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.