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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

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.
S. Korea, EU agree to conclude FTA talks as soon as possible
Local media say South Korea wants to finalize the FTA talks within the first quarter this year and make it effective early next year.
EU car makers want to scrap EU-S. Korea trade pact
European car makers called Thursday for the European Union to scrap a draft free-trade deal with South Korea, saying it won’t let them increase exports during a sales slump at home.
South Korea, EU fail to reach deal on free trade agreement
Car imports remain a major divisive issue. The EU wants South Korea to replace all its existing regulations for European imported cars with international standards.
EU business group urges ambitious stance on Korea trade talks
The European Union should seek big reductions in tariffs and an end to rules that limit trade as part of its negotiations with South Korea on a free trade agreement, the E.U.’s main business group said in a letter released Monday.


  • 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.