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
A ratification motion for the free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the European Union (EU) will be presented to a parliamentary committee on Thursday for approval, lawmakers said.
Korean exports to the European Union are expected to register solid gains once a bilateral free trade agreement takes effect, a local trade organization said Wednesday.
The Lee Myung-bak administration announced plans Friday to submit a new S Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement ratification motion to the National Assembly correcting a translation error present in the text submitted in October 2010. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not independently verify translations in the languages of 21 other EU nations.
EU companies that may benefit include pharmaceutical producers GlaxoSmithKline Plc, chemical makers BASF SE, and consumer electronics manufacturers Royal Philips Electronics NV. Farm exporters, shipping businesses and the financial- and legal-services industries also stand to gain.
MEPs are expected to give green light for ratification on Thursday (17 February) of the most ambitious free trade accord the EU so far negotiated.
Some US business representatives argue that enactment of the KOREU FTA before enactment of the KORUS FTA would give European competitors first mover advantages, but US multinational firms operating in the EU could benefit from the KOREU FTA.
The European Union is set to clear the final legal hurdles to a free trade agreement with South Korea, putting pressure on Taiwan and Japan to strike similar deals with Brussels.
The chargé d’affaires of the European Union delegation to Korea said Thursday that the EU will not demand renegotiation of its free trade deal with Seoul in the wake of Korea’s additional free trade negotiations with the US.
Korea will hold talks with the EU over vehicle gas mileage and greenhouse gas emission standards in the free trade agreement after renegotiations of the FTA with the US opened the door for adjustments.
In early signs that the renegotiation of Korea’s free trade agreement with the U.S. was the thin end of the wedge, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea said Monday it is reexamining environmental and safety clauses in the automotive segment of the Korea-EU FTA.