logo logo


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 hold first round of talks on digital trade
South Korea’s trade ministry launched the first round of talks on digital trade with the European Union in line with efforts to seek broader partnerships in online and data industries.
S. Korea, EU to launch talks for digital trade agreement
South Korea’s trade ministry agreed with the European Union to launch negotiations for a digital trade agreement in line with efforts to seek broader partnerships in online commerce and data industries.
Korea protests France’s EV subsidy rules
Korea is expressing strong concerns over France’s proposed revision of electric vehicle subsidies as it could violate the Korea-European Union Free Trade Agreement, according to industry officials and trade experts.
Korea seeks digital trade pact with EU
Korea will push to clinch a bilateral pact on digital trade with the European Union to facilitate trade in the digital realm and to enhance industry cooperation, the industry ministry said.
S. Korea calls for non-discriminatory application of EU acts
South Korea called on the European Union to ensure its new acts on batteries, critical minerals and net-zero goals are not discriminatory against foreign companies, as the two sides seek to enhance trade and industry ties, Seoul’s industry ministry said.
EU’s green regulations drive ’reasonable’ demand amid global decarbonization: German biz lobby chief
The CEO of the Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also called for Seoul and Brussels to launch the renegotiation process for the Korea-EU free trade agreement to reflect changes in green regulations.
South Korean trade minister calls for closer ties with the EU
Eleven years after the EU and South Korea signed a free trade agreement, South Korean Trade Minister is seeking to modernise it by including investment protection and new technologies.
The EU’s toothless trade policy
The EU Commission fails to enforce trade agreements’ social and environmental norms. Just look at the case of South Korea.
S. Korea to become global test case in its trade dispute with the EU
The European Commission’s request to convene a panel of experts in its dispute with South Korea over labor issues means that South Korea is becoming a major global test case.
EU warns of initiating expert panel if S. Korea fails to resolve ILO ratification
The European Commission warned that it will seek to launch an expert panel to review South Korea’s compliance with the free trade pact it signed with the European Union if it fails to ratify key international labor conventions.


  • 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.