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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

How will free trade deal with EU affect Korea`s farmers?
The National Assembly has ratified the free trade agreement with the European Union, which will allow the deal to take effect in July.
EU FTA can boost exports of S. Korean SMEs: KOTRA
The free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) that was ratified by South Korea’s parliament can boost exports of products made by local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a state-run trade promotion agency said Thursday.
Opposition camp faces discord over FTA bill
Opposition parties face rough sailing to solidarity due to the conflict over the passage of the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement bill Wednesday night.
Standoff in Assembly over passage of EU FTA
The prospect of ratifying the free trade agreement between Korea and the European Union before the end of April legislative session appeared to have dimmed as the Democratic Party made clear its opposition.
EU FTA may be in jeopardy
The National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee yesterday finally approved the country’s long-stalled free trade agreement with the European Union. But the DP quickly threw a wrench into the process.
Parties argue over how to help EU-FTA transition
The government and the ruling Grand National Party are at odds over how to minimize the damage that the pending free trade deal with the European Union would inflict on the domestic livestock farm business.
Busy days as Korea-EU trade agreement nears
The history of the British Chamber of Commerce in Korea, or the BCCK, dates back to 1977 when seven British businessmen began holding regular meetings to discuss issues about promoting business in Korea.
"Trade minister to be held responsible for EU FTA fiasco"
Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, who is considered his government’s leading trade expert, is on the brink of resignation over translation errors in the Korean version of the Korea-European free trade agreement.
Korea-EU FTA stuck in faulty translation loop
The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade admitted that the second translation of the Korea-EU FTA contained a considerable number of fresh errors and agreed to submit a corrected version again.
EU-Korea free trade pact lost in translation
Discrepancies between the Korean and English versions cause uproar


  • 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.