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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

South Korea to start free trade talks with EU in March
President Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday said South Korea will launch free trade talks with the European Union this year.
S. Korean prime minister says FTA with EU is mandatory, not optional
A free trade agreement betwen South Korea and the European Union (EU) is mandatory, not optional, South Korean Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook said Wednesday.
S. Korea to hold public hearing on trade deal with EU
South Korea said Wednesday it will hold a public hearing next week to discuss a possible free trade agreement the the European Union.
Europe eager for trade pact with Korea
The European Union is showing eagerness to establish a free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea ahead of the resumption of talks next month, officials of both sides say.
Korea-EU FTA promoted at luncheon
A special luncheon was held in downtown Seoul on July 4, 2006 to explain the advantages and disadvantages of a Korea-EU FTA. The European Union Chamber of Commerce Korea hosted the event.
Korea, EU set to start FTA talks
The chief of South Korea’s trade promotion agency Friday called for Korea to pursue a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) as soon as possible.
S Korea-EU FTA to generate more benefits than US FTA, reports say
A free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the European Union will bring greater benefits to Asia’s fourth-largest economy than a similar trade pact with the United States, reports showed Sunday.
EU, South Korea eye preliminary FTA talks
South Korea and the European Union have agreed to hold preliminary talks that could lead to the establishment of a free trade agreement (FTA).


  • 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.