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European Union; South Korea: Free Trade Agreement

(Sept. 27, 2010) On September 16, 2010, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union authorized the signing of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and its provisional application as of July 1, 2011, provided that the European Parliament gives its consent. The EU is expected to sign the agreement with Korea at the upcoming EU-Korea Summit in Brussels on October 6, 2010. The FTA with Korea is the first such agreement with an Asian country. South Korea is the EU's eighth largest trade partner, and the EU has become the largest export destination for Korea. (Press Release, European Commission Statement: Council Authorizes Signature of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (Sept. 16, 2010),

The FTA consists of 15 chapters, three protocols, and several annexes. Its main objectives are to liberalize and facilitate trade in goods and services and investment, open up government procurement markets, establish electronic commerce, promote competition between the markets of the two countries, foster foreign direct investment, and at the same time protect intellectual property rights. The two parties undertake the obligation to eliminate custom duties on originating goods of each party and to accord national treatment to goods of the other party. (Text of agreement available from EU_KOREA Free Trade Agreement Online, (last visited Sept. 24, 2010).)

In the new agreement, the two parties uphold their existing rights and obligations arising from the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade as contained in Annex 1A of the World Trade Organization Agreement. The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade was incorporated as part of the FTA agreement. (Id.)

In regard to sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the two parties undertook to minimize the negative impact of such measures on trade but at the same time protect the environment and human and animal life and health. In addition, the parties assumed the obligation to follow transparency pertaining to such measures and to exchange information about them. (Id.)