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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 fail to make progress in FTA talks
South Korea and the European Union failed to narrow their gap in their free trade agreement (FTA) talks, South Korean Trade Ministry said on Friday.
S Korea-EU starts tackling sensitive issues of FTA
Top negotiators of South Korea and the European Union (EU) will meet in Seoul next week to seek progress in their free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations by tackling sensitive issues, the Korea herald reported Thursday.
S Korea, EU to hold minister-level talks on FTA
Trade ministers from South Korea and the European Union will meet next week to resolve contentious issues such as auto trade and rules of origin in their free trade negotiations
S. Korea, Europe seek FTA conclusion in 2008
Europe wants to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea by the year’s end to further boost bilateral economic ties
7th FTA talks with EU start in Belgium today
Delegations from South Korea and the European Union will get together for a new round of the free trade agreement (FTA) talks starting today in Brussels, Belgium.
S Korea, EU to meet next week for FTA talks
Top trade officials from South Korea and the European Union (EU) plan to meet in Japan next week to discuss how both sides will carry out the ongoing free trade negotiations
S. Korea, EU spar over ’rules of origin’
Under EU-suggested rules, a product would be considered as coming from a trading partner only when at least 60 percent of the value of the finished item is added in that country. South Korean negotiators want the ratio to be lowered to 40 percent, as a number of manufacturers in the country outsource many components from neighboring countries such as China to cut costs.
EU says Korea could scupper trade talks over cars
The European Union’s top negotiator in free trade talks with South Korea said Korea was proposing measures that would hurt European car exporters, possibly undermining the chances of a deal.
South Korea Urged To Strengthen IP In EU Trade Talks
South Korea has been urged to strengthen its intellectual property rules in order to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Korea, EU Clash Over Technical Standards on Cars at FTA Talks
Free trade negotiations between South Korea and the European Union have hit a snag as both sides failed to make headway over auto-related technical standards, one of the stickiest issues in their trade talks.


  • 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.