Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Document or Iniciative

Free trade agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part.


Under this free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Korea, the partners will progressively eliminate duties and import quotas applying to imports and exports of industrial and agricultural products. They will also introduce progressive liberalisation of services and investment.

The main objectives of this Agreement are:

  • to eliminate duties for European exporters of industrial and agricultural products;
  • to improve market access for EU service providers;
  • to abolish non-tariff restrictions in the electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors;
  • to improve market access for EU car manufacturers;
  • to improve access to government procurement markets;
  • to protect intellectual property rights;
  • to strengthen competition law;
  • to improve transparency;
  • to promote sustainable development;
  • to establish a rapid and effective dispute settlement system.

Elimination of tariff and non-tariff measures

The EU and Korea will progressively abolish customs duties applying to their trade in goods. This liberalisation applies to a list of goods (Annex 2-A).

In addition, the partners may not adopt any other types of import or export restrictions. However, they may provide for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health. In accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the partners shall minimise the effects of these measures on the development of trade.

Trade in services and right of establishment

The partners undertake to liberalise part of their offer of services in accordance with the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). They have therefore drawn up a list of commitments and limitations (Annex 7-A) concerning the liberalised service sectors.

Similarly, the Agreement defines the rules on the right of establishment for access to the market in services, and on the right of residence for professionals.

Lastly, the liberalisation of financial services may be restricted in order to protect the partners’ financial systems or to protect investors and individuals receiving these services.

Government procurement

The EU and Korea shall grant each other access to their markets in products and services, in compliance with the rules on openness, transparency and non-discrimination in the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement.

The rules applying to public works contracts are laid down in Annex 9 to this Agreement.

Dispute settlement

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the Agreement, the parties shall have recourse to extrajudicial dispute settlement mechanisms, particularly rapid arbitration and mediation procedures.

Sustainable development

The Agreement includes provisions establishing joint commitments and a framework for cooperation on trade and sustainable development and provides for dialogue and continuous commitment between the EU and South Korea in the areas of environment and employment.


This free trade agreement is the most complete and the most ambitious agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. The strategy for a Global Europe: Competing in the world (BG) (CS) (ET) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (PL) (RO) (SK) (SL) envisages the development of this type of agreement in order to provide the EU with preferential access to external markets.

According to a recent study , this Agreement should make it possible to double bilateral trade over the next twenty years compared to a situation without an agreement in place.

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