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
On the occasion of the 3rd round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between South Korea and the EU taking place from 17th till 21st September in Brussels, Belgium, members of the Korean Alliance against Korea-EU FTA (KoA) and members from social movements and civil society organisations from Europe have come together to join forces and struggle together against the Global Europe strategy and the Korea-EU FTA.
From the Korea FTA Industry Alliance and BUSINESSEUROPE
Free trade talks between Korea and the EU have hit an unexpected snag after the EU turned from a generous negotiating partner in the first two rounds into a stubborn, picky one in the third round.
A sudden influx of European pork will lead to Korea’s livestock industry crumbling.
South Korean officials say they hope to reach a deal by the end of this year.
It will specify when and how much Korea is willing to open its agricultural sector, the most sensitive area in free trade talks.
BUSINESSEUROPE would like to see an agreement based on full coverage, full reciprocity and effective market access for industrial goods, ambitious services liberalisation of as many sectors as possible, strong rules to foster and protect investments, and strong rules on trade facilitation, competition and public procurement.
The EU claims there are considerable gaps between what Seoul is offering Brussels and what was agreed upon with Washington
Already, the EU has shunned Korea’s request to include goods made in the inter-Korean industrial park in North Korea’s border city of Kaeseong in their potential FTA and requested Korea to introduce a system in which cafes and restaurants pay royalties to music producers and performers.
With the European Union and South Korea starting their talks on a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) in Brussels, Korean negotiators remain divided over how to open the country’s market to one of the world’s largest economic blocks. The cacophony represents the fact that the government has not put in enough effort to gather consensus before negotiations began and only pushes for the conclusion of the economic deal in a hasty way.