Implementation of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement

On the 20th of October 2017, the European Commission published a report on the implementation of the free trade agreement between the European Union and Korea.


EU exports to Korea increased by 59.2%, from 28 billion EUR in 2010 to 44.5 billion EUR in 2016. The average increase of EU exports to Korea was 8.1 %, the average growth of EU
imports from Korea 0.8% per year.

In 2010, the base year before the start of provisional application of the FTA, EU exports to Korea were 28.0 bn €, and imports from Korea were 39.5 bn €. In 2016, EU exports to Korea were 44.5 bn €, and imports from Korea were 41.4 bn €. So the EU’s 11.6 billion EUR trade deficit with Korea in 2010 has turned into a trade surplus of 3.1 billion EUR in 2016.

The current level of EU exports to Korea would have generated duty payments of approximately 2 billion EUR had the FTA not been in place


The EU-South Korea free trade agreement eliminates duties for industrial and agricultural goods in a progressive, step-by-step approach. The majority of import duties had been removed in 2011. The remaining ones – with exception of a limited number of agricultural products – were removed after 5 years on 1 July 2016.

The FTA also addresses non-tariff barriers to trade, specifically in the automotive, pharmaceutical, medical devices and electronics sectors.

The agreement creates new opportunities for market access in services and investments, and includes provisions in areas such as competition policy, government procurement, intellectual property rights, transparency in regulation and sustainable development.

The agreement established a number of specialised committees and working groups between the two parties to monitor its implementation. These bodies also provide an opportunity to seek resolutions to market access concerns and to engage in closer regulatory cooperation. The annual trade committee at ministerial level plays a supervisory role and is designed to ensure that the agreement operates properly.


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