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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-EU FTA set to hurt Japanese auto sales
Japanese carmakers such as Toyota and Honda struggled to secure a firm market share here in the first half of 2011 while other imported auto brands boasted record sales.
Polish ambassador says FTA will open new chapter in relationship
New Polish Ambassador to Korea Krzysztof Ignacy Majka had been a renowned scientist in his home country and didn’t know much about Asia until he went to India in 1979 as a research student.
S. Korean biz bodies hail implementation of EU FTA
South Korea’s leading business organizations on Thursday welcomed the scheduled implementation of the free trade pact with the European Union (EU), vowing full support for the deal that promises to promote trade and economic growth.
S. Korea-EU trade deal will impact globally: envoy
A sweeping free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union will have a worldwide impact, the EU’s ambassador in Seoul said Thursday, on the eve of its implementation.
EU sees S. Korea trade pact as model for Asia
The European Union sees its sweeping free trade agreement with South Korea as a model for planned pacts elsewhere in Asia, the EU’s chief negotiator on the deal said Monday.
Government seeks to lower impact of S Korea-EU FTA
The government is seeking to reduce the potential impact of a South Korea-EU free-trade agreement (FTA) on local industries by boosting product differentiation and market expansion, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.
Korea Trade’s Cho Says Petrochemical Firms to Benefit From FTA
Cho Seong Dae, chief researcher at the FTA & Industry Research Office Institute for International Trade, part of the Korea International Trade Association, comments on the impact of a free-trade agreement with the European Union on South Korean petrochemical companies.
Potential FTA impacts studied
The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said it was looking into Taiwanese industries that could suffer a potential blow after a South Korea-EU free-trade agreement (FTA) takes effect on July 1.
Lee exhorts German businesses to invest
President Lee Myung-bak Tuesday urged major German companies to expand their investments in Korea, stressing that his country’s free-trade network will help European firms’ business in other foreign markets.
DP’s Sohn apologizes for flip-flopping on EU FTA
Democratic Party leader Sohn Hak-kyu apologized to the people for the chaos around the ratification of the Korea-EU free trade agreement, which he promised to support and then backed away from, stressing he wasn’t opposed to the deal itself, but was “against the insufficient bill.”


  • 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.