The European Union and South Korea have set sights on full entrance into force of the Free Trade Agreement at the earliest date, if possible within this year, with the completion of the ratification process.
Namely, representatives of the two sides met in Seoul on September 15, 2015 during the Eighth Summit between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the European Union (EU) where they discussed various aspects of mutual cooperation, one of them being trade.
The ROK was represented by President Park Geun-hye and the EU was represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström representing the President of the European Commission.
The EU and Korea entered into the FTA deal, the most comprehensive free trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU and the first with a partner country in Asia, in 2010. The Agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 July 2011, pending full entrance into force.
“The leaders agreed that the full implementation of the FTA and increase in trade volume between the ROK and the EU is important, in order to bring the expected benefits to both sides in a balanced way. In this respect, the leaders encouraged their trade officials to produce tangible outcomes on the FTA implementation issues,” a joint statement reads.
According to the EU estimates, under the deal import duties are to be eliminated on nearly all products (98.7 % of duties in terms of trade value will be eliminated within five years) and there is farreaching liberalisation of trade in services (including in telecommunications, environmental services, shipping, financial and legal services) covering all modes of supply. The FTA is expected to create substantial new trade opportunities in goods and services (up to € 19.1 billion, according to one study) as well as in investment.
What is more, EU shipping firms will have full market access and the right of establishment in Korea, as well as non-discriminatory treatment in the use of port services and infrastructure.
In addition, Korea is about to join the EU’s counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden of Somalia in the EU Atalanta operation with the understanding that the ROK will require the National Assembly’s consent to this end.