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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

Analysis: The free trade pact that’s costing crude buyers
Buried in the small print of an obscure trade agreement between Europe and South Korea is a clause which is costing oil consumers around the world money.
EU retailers to seek Korean partners at Seoul trade fair
The Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency said Monday that it will hold a business fair for European retail companies next month on the first anniversary of the Korea-EU free trade pact.
Ford Europe hits at EU-Korea trade deal
The European boss of Ford Motor, the continent’s fourth-ranked carmaker by sales, has complained about “significant imbalance” in trade in cars under a free trade agreement with South Korea that took effect last year.
Enactment of Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement triggers amendments to IP laws
The Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect on July 1 2011. As a result, a number of acts that directly relate to intellectual property have been amended.
FTA drives S. Korea’s car exports to EU
South Korea’s car exports to the European Union (EU) surged 40.1 percent on-year in the first 10 months of 2011, fueled by the bilateral free trade pact, a local industry association said Tuesday.
Korea’s imports exceed exports after FTA with EU
The rate of imports has overwhelmed that of exports for the past three months from July when the Korea-EU FTA kicked into effect.
EU FTA red tape keeps Korean wine market tied up
Years before the FTA, in Europe, wine grower associations and media emphasized the importance of the FTA and focused on how the new deal would increase sales. But nearly two months later, confusion still reigns.
South Korean law firms in expansion mode following legal market liberalization
Major South Korean law firms are actively pursuing expansion overseas as counterparts from the European Union seek to set up practices in Korea, legal sources told mergermarket.
S. Korea posts trade deficit with EU following FTA
South Korea logged a trade deficit with the European Union last month as imports spiked from the region after both implemented a free trade deal, customs data showed Monday.
Korea-EU FTA to put Seoul at public health crossroads
Pharmaceuticals might not have been the most discussed sector before the Korea-European Union Free Trade Agreement came into effect from July 1.


  • 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.