The government of South Korea has concluded, or is pursuing negotiations for, a number of bilateral free trade and investment agreements. Korean social movements have been mobilizing in opposition to these ever since the Korea-Chile FTA was proposed. So far, South Korea has signed deals with Chile (2004), EFTA (2004), Singapore (2005), ASEAN (2007) the US (2007, ratified in 2011), Peru (2011) and Turkey (2012). Talks are under way with Canada, China, Mexico, India, the EU and, technically speaking, Japan. Negotiations with Colombia have stalled over Colombia’s demands for access for better terms for its fruit and flower exports than what Korea gives Chile and Peru. Seoul is also looking to open discussions with Mercosur, Malaysia, Mexico and possibly Israel.
last update: May 2012
Photo: Joe Mabel / CC BY-SA 3.0
Agriculture issues are holding up progress in free trade agreement (FTA) talks between South Korea and Japan, a Korean government official said Monday.
South Korea will make a determined effort to pursue free trade agreements (FTAs) in an effort to further its interests, despite concerns that this could weaken domestic industries and pose further challenges for the agricultural sector.
Until April, South Korea was the only member of the World Trade Organisation other than Mongolia without a free-trade agreement (FTA). Now it is trying to catch up in a hurry.
The South Korean government said that it will seek provisions in future free trade talks that will permit preferential duties for products from the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea so that they will be treated as if produced in the South.
South Korea, which has long remained out of the race for free trade zones, has geared up for high-profile efforts to jump on the free trade bandwagon, which could ensure more benefits to its export-driven economy.
South Korea will start negotiations next year for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
South Korea and Brazil have agreed to launch a joint feasibility study into signing a Free Trade Agreement between South Korea and the South American common market of Mercosur.
Korean trade union and social organisations have worked together in recent months to stop the Japan-Korea FTA, arguing that it will result in the abolition of more regulations protecting workers rights, and more privatisation of public services. They also say the average citizens’ access to medical treatment and drugs will also be undermined by the FTA’s excuse to “protect” intellectual property rights.
Korea’s four major business organizations have urged the government to enact a special law ahead of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan in order to protect domestic companies from negative effects of the pact.
South Korea will hold a second round of joint studies on a free trade agreement this week in with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which is made up of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
KoPA is a coalition of around 50 NGOs, social movement organizations, political parties, peasant organizations and trade unions working, among other things, to stop bilateral and regional free trade agreements and the WTO.