Dow Jones Newswires | 19 Jan 2009
EU Business Group Urges Ambitious Stance On Korea Trade Talks
By Matthew Dalton
BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The European Union should seek big reductions in tariffs and an end to rules that limit trade as part of its negotiations with South Korea on a free trade agreement, the E.U.’s main business group said in a letter released Monday.
The E.U.’s trade commissioner Catherine Ashton is in South Korea for talks Monday and Tuesday. E.U. officials say they hope to sign the free trade agreement this spring.
"The outcome of these negotiations will be hugely important for the E.U.’s competitiveness," wrote Philippe de Buck, the director general of BusinessEurope, in a letter to Ashton. "Korea is an important Asian economy in whose trade Europe is underrepresented."
With talks at the World Trade Organization on hold after nations couldn’t reach a deal last year, bilateral deals like the South Korea agreement have become the E.U.’s main hope of opening new markets for its exporters, which are a key driver of the region’s economic fortunes.