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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

Official signing of Korea-EU FTA postponed to May
The postponement is due to prolonged translation procedure by EU and does not mean changes in substance of pact or delay in implementation schedule (October 2010)
Imminent EU-S. Korea trade deal will bring £500m benefit to British business
A new UK government report outlines 100 business opportunities for British firms from the EU-Korea FTA
S. Korea, EU to hold ministerial meeting over free trade deal
Trade ministers from South Korea and the European Union will meet in Brussels on Monday to assess the progress of the final steps toward a bilateral free trade agreement
Gov’t to prop up milk industry as FTA kicks in
Korea will maintain 2 million tons of milk production annually to help the local dairy industry deal with an influx of imports once a free trade pact with the European Union (EU) goes into effect, the government said yesterday.
Korean trade deal could fall under Lisbon rules
Speculation is rife within trade circles that the EU’s free trade agreement with South Korea could be in for a rough time from newly-empowered MEPs who strongly oppose aspects of the deal.
FFII calls to remove IP chapter from EU-Korea free trade agreement
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) calls upon the EU Parliament and member states to remove the intellectual property rights chapter from the EU - Korea Free Trade Agreement.
S.Korea-EU FTA indicates European beef imports may resume
According to a draft of the free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union, once the FTA takes effect, European beef that has a higher risk for mad cow disease than U.S. beef could be allowed into the country.
EU grabs Korea trade pact that was ours
"For Europe, the deal with Korea was easy. The US had already negotiated a trade pact of its own that was ready to go in 2006. Details of the EU-Korea treaty are nearly identical, so it’s obvious the Europeans just Xeroxed the US-Korea pact and will now walk off with the spoils," write a US business journal.
EU, South Korea ink free-trade deal: commission
The European Union and South Korea on Thursday signed a free trade deal which Brussels said would be worth 19 billion euros (28 billion dollars) in new trade for EU exporters.
EU FTA would increase trade by $98.4 billion
A free trade agreement between Korea and the European Union will eventually increase bilateral trade by about 20 percent if it is fully implemented, British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson estimated yesterday.


  • 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.