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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

Korea: Trade deficit with EU exceeds $10 billion
It all started after the FTA went into effect. Korea had posted 11 straight years of trade surpluses with the EU from 1998 to 2011, but the balance shift into the red in 2012.
Trade commission recognizes damage from EU FTA to S. Korean firms
So far, 40 Korean companies have claimed damage from the country’s FTAs, with 18 of them claiming damage from the Korea-EU FTA. Out of the total, 30 have been awarded damage.
Trade commission recognizes damage from Korea-EU FTA
South Korea’s trade commission has recognized damage to a local company from the country’s bilateral free trade agreement with the European Union, the government said Thursday.
Auto : Bruxelles veut évaluer les accords de libre-échange
La Commission Européenne devrait annoncer que des études d’impact vont être menées sur tous les accords de libre-échange signés, notamment celui conclu avec la Corée du Sud.
Libre-échange auto: la Corée s’insurge contre la France
Le gouvernement sud-coréen réfute les allégations de la France, selon lesquelles le marché tricolore serait envahi de voitures produites en Corée.
EU mulls French request for surveillance of S.Korea car imports
The European Union is examining a request by France to require South Korea to give advanced warning of planned car exports to the EU, the first step towards the possible re-introduction of duties a year after a free-trade deal came into effect.
Carmakers dampen EU free-trade drive
South Korea’s biggest car maker, Hyundai Motor Co, decided to boost its European presence five years ago, adding a family sedan and a sporty-looking crossover SUV to its smaller hatchbacks.
Exports to EU dwindle 12% after FTA
Korea’s exports to the EU dwindled 12% since the Korea-EU FTA went into effect one year ago, while imports grew 13%.
Imported whisky prices rise despite EU FTA
Retail prices of imported whisky from Europe have not dropped but climbed in the local market despite the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement which took effect in July 1, 2011, according to Korea’s antitrust regulator.
Prices of whisky imported from EU much inflated
Domestic prices of whisky imported from the European Union (EU) are five times more than their import costs despite last year’s implementation of a bilateral free trade deal that cut tariffs, a consumer advocacy group said Sunday.


  • 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.