Fabian Demicoli

First EU-South Korea Trade

 One hundred days after entry into force of the most ambitious bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) ever negotiated by the EU, the first meeting of the EU-South Korea Trade Committee, took place in Seoul on 11 and 12 October.

 

Both sides took stock of the FTA's positive aspects for business operators. However, some barriers to implementation of the agreement still remain, mainly relating to regulatory issues. Positive steps have been agreed between the EU and South Korea to tackle these outstanding issues.

During the meeting in Seoul, both parties agreed on ways forward to bridge implementation issues in the areas of motor vehicles and electronics. As regards motor vehicles, market access issues on tyres, after-sales verification rules for diesel emissions and safety standards of cars were tackled. On electronic goods, the meeting addressed the need to recognize agreed ways of testing electronic products.

Commissioner De Gucht underlined the need for the EU and South Korea to use the free trade agreement and deepened partnership to help forge common standards in the future on products such as electric vehicles (ecars). Such a move is key to ensuring that Europe and South Korea remain leaders on standards for the world market so that their companies remain competitive and their consumers have the best choices.

Finally, the Trade Committee identified a number of areas where additional work is needed by both parties to reduce the administrative burden preventing free trade flows, such as complex procedures for imports of European agricultural products in South Korea.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Commissioner De Gucht invited the European business world to give feedback and inform his services of any difficulties with implementation of the agreement. Commissioner De Gucht also encouraged European companies to become certified as "approved exporters" with their national customs administration. This certification is necessary if European companies want to enjoy the abolition of customs duties in accordance with the agreement.

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