Dong-A Ilbo | December 10, 2010
Chief EU delegate rules out renegotiation of FTA
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 U.S.
While attending the EU-Korea Awards ceremony hosted by the EU Chamber of Commerce in Korea, Uwe Wissenbach told The Dong-A Ilbo, “What is important is that the 27 EU member countries agreed to and signed the FTA,” adding the agreement will likely take effect tentatively in July next year.
The following is excerpts from a Dong-A Ilbo interview with Wissenbach.
Dong-A: The results of the Korea-U.S. free trade renegotiations seem to be a variable. Now that their deal was agreed through renegotiations, what is the EU’s position?
Wissenbach: Our position is that the Korea-U.S. FTA and the Korea-EU FTA are totally separate issues. Even though the U.S. drew the (accord`s) conclusion to its advantage, we are glad that the deal has finally been agreed on. The recent G-20 summit in Seoul warned against protectionist trends in international trade. The Seoul-Washington FTA is a welcome agreement in that it will prevent the expansion of trade protectionism and promote free trade. In that sense, the Korea-EU FTA probably served as a signal encouraging Washington to seek free trade with Seoul.
Dong-A: The EU is reportedly demanding renegotiations in the automobile sector.
Wissenbach: That’s not true. We won’t ask for renegotiations based on the Korea-U.S. FTA. Of course, we are comparing and analyzing the details of the Korea-U.S. FTA, but what’s important is that the two sides have agreed to and signed the agreement. That means trust. The text of the (Korea-EU) agreement will not be revised.
Dong-A: Does not the European auto industry strongly oppose the Korea-EU deal? The EU Chamber of Commerce in Korea has also begun to review clauses in the Korea-EU agreement on the environment and safety.
Wissenbach: I know. But it’s common for certain industries to protest the results of a free trade deal, as is the case with Korea. In the auto industry, large and small cars have mixed interest. The government’s role is to balance various arguments and demands from the political and business circles. In that respect, business resistance matters little.