This is the third trade agreement signed between South Korea and the European Union. The first, the Customs Cooperation and Mutual Assistance Agreement, was signed on 13 May 1997. [5] This agreement allows competition policy to be distributed between the two parties. [6] The second agreement, the Framework Agreement on Trade and Cooperation, came into force on 1 April 2001. The framework aims to strengthen cooperation in various industrial sectors, including transport, energy, science and technology, industry, environment and culture. [6] [7] The agreement removes tariffs on 98% of import duties and barriers to trade in industrial products, agricultural products and services over a five-year period. [13] It ensures that South Korean vehicle emissions regulations are not harmful to European car manufacturers and contains a clause to protect European car manufacturers. [14] [15] [16] The EU and South Korea meet regularly to discuss issues and best practices in implementing the agreement. Committees, working groups and other bodies of the agreement meet regularly. Italian carmakers and some French carmakers believe the deal would be of grave harm to them, as it would allow South Korean carmakers to compete with them in the EU. Adolfo Urso, a young Italian foreign trade minister, said the Italian government could veto the agreement on the basis of the concerns of European car manufacturers, which it originally did in September 2010. Trade analysts such as ECIPE`s Hosuk Lee-Makiyama have dismissed car industry lobbying as a “myth”: while EU exports to Korea are estimated at 400%, most Asian brands produce their cars in the EU and Korean cars account for an insignificant share of imports to the EU, which even threaten even the most inefficient car manufacturers in Europe. [11] Italy abandoned its objections in exchange for the postponement of the provisional application of the agreement from 1 January 2011 to 1 July 2011.

[12] It went further than any of the previous EU agreements to remove trade barriers and was also the EU`s first trade agreement with an Asian country. The agreement established a number of specialized commissions and working groups between the two parties to monitor implementation. 1 July 2019 will mark the eighth anniversary of the EU-South Korea free trade agreement. The agreement phases out tariffs on industrial and agricultural products. South Korea has opposed previous free trade agreements, including with the United States. This EU agreement is bigger than that of the United States. But South Korea`s deputy finance minister Hur Kyung-wook said he believed the agreement would come into force in July 2010. [17] On 22 March 2011, the citizens` group Lawyers for Democratic Society (민사회를 위변호사모임) announced that there were 160 cases of error in the false translation in the Korean version of the document. [18] In 2016, five years after the temporary entry into force of the free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea, the European Commission announced that EU exports to South Korea increased by 55%; European companies have saved 2.8 billion euros in scrappage or reduced tariffs; Bilateral merchandise trade between the EU and South Korea has increased each year to a record level of more than 90 billion euros in 2015. [22] These bodies also offer the opportunity to find solutions to market access problems and to establish closer regulatory cooperation. An annual trade commission at the ministerial level plays a supervisory role and aims to ensure that the agreement works. In 2016, the European Commission published the mandate to assess the impact of the implementation of the free trade agreement.

The experience gained in the implementation of this free trade agreement can serve as a basis for improving the development of similar agreements negotiated with other countries.

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