South Korea is the EU's fourth most important trading partner outside Europe (after the US, Japan and China). EU-South Korea trade in goods was worth €66.6 billion in 2010. The negotiations for an EU-South Korea FTA were launched in May 2007 in Seoul. After eight rounds of talks, the FTA was initialled by both sides on 15 October 2009. The Agreement was officially signed on 6 October 2010 in the margins of the EU-South Korea Summit in Brussels.
The FTA will eliminate the majority of customs duties on goods as of 1 July, allowing EU exporters to save €850 million in duties on day one. During the following 5 years, 98.7% of duties in trade value of industrial and agricultural goods will be eliminated, creating significant new opportunities for EU exporters who will save €1.6 billion annually from not paying import duties once the agreement is up and running. The FTA will also improve Korean market access for EU service suppliers, notably in the telecommunications, environmental, shipping, financial and legal sectors. Electronics, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors will benefit from the removal of non-tariff barriers. European car producers will benefit both from tariff elimination and from the removal of non-tariff barriers and will be protected by a safeguard clause should they be threatened by an injurious surge of imports from South Korea.
European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht is available for interview in the days leading up to 1 July. To bid for an interview, please contact the European Commission's London Press Office on 020 7973 1971.
For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.