In May 2007, the European Union and South Korea started negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement. It took effect on 1 July 2011.
This deal is part of the EU’s post-2006 "Global Europe" strategy to boost the competitiveness of EU corporations in the world by securing deeper commitments to neoliberal policies from trading partners, including expanded rights for European transnationals. In Korea, the European Union is trying to win equal, if not better, footing against US firms after the conclusion of the US-Korea FTA. (The EU makes stronger demands than the US on Korea in the areas of intellectual property, services, competition policy and environmental standards.)
Social movements from both sides mobilised against the deal’s potential impacts. One flashpoint of concern is for Korea’s agricultural sector, where pig farmers in particular are expected to suffer from an influx of subsidised EU pork as a result of this deal.
last update: May 2012
The European Commission’s request to convene a panel of experts in its dispute with South Korea over labor issues means that South Korea is becoming a major global test case.
The European Commission warned that it will seek to launch an expert panel to review South Korea’s compliance with the free trade pact it signed with the European Union if it fails to ratify key international labor conventions.
The European Commission asked South Korea to start consultations on labor issues under a dispute settlement mechanism in the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter in the bilateral free trade agreement implemented in 2011.
European business leaders in Korea have urged the Korean government to begin talks on amendments to the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, citing overall changes in various industries since the deal first took effect in July 2011.
South Korea’s finance minister said a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) should be further developed despite Britain’s recent exit from the world’s biggest economic bloc.
The South Korean government said that it will review the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with the European Union (EU) following Britain’s exit from the bloc.
High-level South Korean diplomats have expressed their preference for the old investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system over the Investment Court System (ICS) in the framework of a future investment chapter in the EU-South Korea FTA.
The European Commission intends to announce in mid October its plans to revise the deal in order to add the missing investment protection chapter to it.
It all started after the FTA went into effect. Korea had posted 11 straight years of trade surpluses with the EU from 1998 to 2011, but the balance shift into the red in 2012.
So far, 40 Korean companies have claimed damage from the country’s FTAs, with 18 of them claiming damage from the Korea-EU FTA. Out of the total, 30 have been awarded damage.