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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

EU-Korea business club unhappy with revised FTA with US
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.
EUCCK asked to help FTA passage
The Korean government is urging European businessmen to lobby lawmakers in their home countries to ratify the Korea-EU free trade agreement.
EU-Korea: Parliament delays vote on free-trade safeguards
The European Parliament has postponed a vote on attaching safeguards to a free-trade deal between the EU and South Korea because of disagreements with the European Commission and member states.
Wisconsin cheese makers concerned with trade deal
Wisconsin cheese makers are reacting to a free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea which may require them to re-name their cheeses.
Unease in Japan over EU-South Korea FTA
For Japan, which has been unable to even start negotiations with the EU on a similar free-trade arrangement, the agreement could deal a heavy blow to its auto and electronics industries.
EU signs free-trade deal with South Korea, its first with an Asian nation
The European Union and South Korea signed a free-trade deal yesterday that could double trade between them and trigger a rush among Asian states to enter into trade pacts with the EU.
L’Europe approuve un vaste accord de libre-échange avec la Corée du Sud
L’Union européenne a donné jeudi son feu vert à un accord de libre-échange d’une ampleur sans précédent avec la Corée du Sud, l’Italie ayant levé un veto qu’elle brandissait du fait d’inquiétudes pour son industrie automobile, a annoncé la présidence belge de l’UE.
EU agrees to South Korea free trade deal
The European Union’s presidency said the 27-nation bloc has agreed to sign a free trade deal with South Korea after overcoming objections from Italy, which feared the pact would hurt its ailing auto industry, according to Yonhap news agency on Thursday.
EU sets special meeting on SKorea trade deal
An EU source said all major stumbling blocs had been removed, making Italy’s agreement on the multibillion dollar free trade deal likely.
Italy to hold out at least until Thursday on EU-South Korea veto
European Union ministers meeting on Monday gave Italy until Thursday to decide whether it wants to confirm its veto on a free-trade agreement with South Korea, diplomats told the German Press Agency dpa.


  • 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.