EU, South Korea officials sign free trade agreement

06 October 2010 12:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--EU and South Korean officials have signed a free trade agreement (FTA), signalling a further step towards full implementation of the deal on 1 July 2011, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), and South Korean Minister for Trade Kim Jong-hoon signed the agreement on Wednesday at the EU-Korea Summit in Brussels.

“The agreement between the EU and South Korea marks a significant achievement in improving our trade links,” said De Gucht in a statement.

“It will provide a real boost to jobs and growth in Europe at this critical time. This wide-ranging and innovative deal is a benchmark for what we want to achieve in other trade agreements," he added.

The FTA was initialled between the Commission and South Korea on 15 October 2009 and was adopted by the European Council on 16 September.

The date of provisional application would be 1 July 2011, provided that the European Parliament gives its consent and that the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing the bilateral safeguard clause of the FTA is in place.

EU member states would also have to ratify the agreement according to their own laws and procedures.

Last month, Rene van Sloten, executive director for industrial policy at industry association Cefic, said the European chemicals industry welcomed the EU’s free trade agreement with South Korea and hoped it could open the doors for similar deals with other countries.

The trade in EU-South Korea goods was worth around €54bn ($75bn) in 2009, the Commission said. 

In terms of tariffs, South Korea and the EU would eliminate 98.7% of duties in trade value for both industrial and agricultural products within five years from when the agreement takes effect.

According to the EU, exporters of chemicals would be relieved from over €150m in duties each year through the trade deal.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214

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