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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 struggles to persuade Italy over Korea trade deal
European partners scrambled on Monday to convince Italy to drop its opposition to a trade deal with South Korea ahead of an EU summit, as Rome fretted about the impact on its vital auto industry.
EU-Korea FTA remains stalled
A hoped-for green light from the European Council, which comprises 27 member-states, was not forthcoming on Friday, as EU trade ministers met to try and break the deadlock.
EU-Korea FTA hits final delay
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council yesterday decided to rediscuss the approval of a free trade pact with Korea on Monday, and the 27-member bloc hopes to sign the pact in early October, the minister presiding over the council meeting said.
Italy to veto EU-South Korea free-trade deal: minister
Italy will veto a free-trade deal between the European Union and South Korea unless changes are made or the implementation of the agreement is pushed back a year, the junior minister for foreign trade warned on Tuesday.
Trade agreement backed by MEPs
MEPs have broadly welcomed new safeguard measures being brought in as part of a free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea.
FTA with EU to be completed soon
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade signaled yesterday that the free trade agreement between Korea and the European Union could be signed soon.
Carmakers and trade deals: One-way street
In the next few months European Union governments will have to decide whether to ratify a free-trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea that is described by the EU’s external-trade directorate as “one of the most ambitious and complete deals” it has ever signed.
Green light from Trade Committee for safeguard clause in EU-South Korea trade accord
The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee gave its approval on Wednesday to draft legislation implementing a safeguard clause in the EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA).
Where does Korea-EU FTA stand?
The more than 1,000-page text needed to be translated into 23 languages and is now undergoing legal verification.
EUROFER expresses concerns over FTA with South Korea
On April 23, the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (EUROFER) released a statement expressing its concerns regarding the possible distortive effects of the negotiated market access conditions under the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on the European automotive market, which is the main customer base of the European steel industry.


  • 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.