In today’s extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council within the framework of the European Council in Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers agreed to conclude a free trade agreement with South Korea. According to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the signing will take place during the EU-South Korea summit on 6 October 2010.
A free trade agreement with strategic partner South Korea is important to the entire European Union. “It will enliven our economy, create new opportunities, and bring investments,” stated Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. “Estonia is certain that the EU’s position in Asia will become notably stronger when the agreement comes into effect,” Paet added. It is also essential to give positive signals to South Korea, as it is one of the European Union’s strategic partners. The free trade agreement coming into effect on 1 July 2011 will offer both sides significantly greater freedom in exchanging goods and services and establish certain regulations regarding competitiveness, procurement, and other matters. Before the final signing, the agreement must also be approved by the European Parliament.
Among other things, the agreement will extend the favourable circumstances with South Korea given by the USA’s free trade agreement to European Union producers.
South Korea is the European Union’s eighth trade partner by size, and the EU ranks as South Korea’s second export partner. In addition to trade regulations, the free trade agreement also contains terms for sustainable development in social and environmental issues as well as a protocol for cultural co-operation.
Source: Estonian Review