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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 to wrap up first week of free trade talks
South Korea and the European Union were to wrap up their first round of free trade talks Friday with Seoul’s negotiators expressing satisfaction over the week-long negotiations, but conceding sensitive issues were barely touched.
FTA with EU to hurt S Korea’s alcohol, meat, dairy sectors: report
A free trade pact with the European Union (EU) is expected to hurt South Korea’s alcoholic beverage, meat and dairy sectors, a report by Nonghyup Management Institute, a semi-official research institute. said Monday.
South Korea, EU launch trade talks
Bilateral free trade agreements do not contradict efforts to forge a multilateral deal under the World Trade Organization but instead help fill key gaps, the European Union trade chief said Sunday in announcing the start of two-way negotiations with South Korea.
S. Korea to decide on start of FTA talks with EU next week
South Korea is scheduled to decide on the beginning of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) at a meeting of ministers next week, a government official said Sunday.
South Korea, EU to start FTA talks in early May, official says
South Korea and the European Union will start discussions in early May on forging a free trade agreement (FTA), Seoul’s senior trade official said Wednesday.
Caricom wants ’special provisions’ for sugar, bananas
The EU concession announced last week to remove all remaining quota and tariff restrictions on ACP products includes a phase-out period for rice and sugar, but does not mention bananas.
Italy to tap Korean food markets
The recent free trade agreement between Korea and the US could help uncork one of the hottest markets in an expanding Asian frontier: quality foodstuffs and wine.
Germany supports Korea-EU free trade pact
"We will most probably see a swifter resolution of the FTA talks, compared with the Korea-US FTA, since there are less sensitivity issues between the two sides," Jurgen Wohler, secretary general of the Korea-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said. He added that it would be satisfactory if the Korea-EU FTA is agreed upon on a similar level to the KORUS FTA.
EU-Korea FTA prospects good: envoy
"Everything will be on the table" when Korea and the European Union start official negotiations for a free trade agreement in March, said EU Ambassador Brian McDonald.


  • 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.