Free trade pact to top EU, South Korea summit agenda

20 May 2009 13:14  [Source: ICIS news]

BRUSSELS (ICIS news)--The EU and South Korea will reopen the question of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two regions during talks this weekend, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of the summit, EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton said “a comprehensive free trade agreement is now within reach. We will continue to work on the remaining issues with a view to delivering a deal that will create growth and jobs for both sides”.

When the two regions last met to discuss the issue in the margins of the G20 summit in London in April, the Commission said they were unable to find agreement on duty drawbacks – the main issue blocking the conclusion of an FTA.

Between 2000 and 2008 the trade in goods between the EU and South Korea grew by around 50% - EU-27 exports to South Korea rose to €26bn ($35.6bn) in 2008 compared with €17bn in 2000 and imports grew to €39bn from €27bn, the Commission announced today. 

The overall EU27 trade deficit with South Korea therefore increased from €10bn in 2000 to €14bn in 2008. However, the trade in chemicals bucked this trend.

The EU increased exports of chemicals to South Korea from €2.48bn in 2000 to €4.51bn, while imports only grew marginally from €1.16bn to €1.70bn.

The fourth EU-Korea summit will take place in Seoul on Saturday.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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