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Italy to veto EU-South Korea free-trade deal: minister

AFP | 7 September 2010

Italy to veto EU-South Korea free-trade deal: minister

MILAN — 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.

"We have asked for changes, especially for the auto sector, but unfortunately our suggestions were not accepted," Adolfo Urso told AFP.

In order to be ratified, the deal will need to unanimously pass a vote on Friday by all 27 European Union member countries.

Urso said deferral of the deal’s application would give European automakers, who are vehemently against it, time to prepare for the lowering of trade barriers.

Among other measures, the trade agreement reportedly includes the end to import barriers for South Korean cars in the EU in three years for high and medium-powered vehicles and five years for small cars.

Urso said he doubted the changes would be made before the vote.

After a preliminary accord was inked in October 2009, the EU said it expected the deal, which could be worth up to 19 billion euros (24 billion dollars) a year to EU exporters, to be ratified by the second half of 2010.

In 2009, the EU exported goods worth 21.5 billion euros to South Korea and imported 32 billion euros’ worth of goods, making it EU’s eighth largest trading partner.

 source: AFP