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South Korea–European Union relations

Euro-South Korean relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and South Korea

European Union

South Korea

The Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the European Union (EU) are important trade partners: Korea is the EU's 9th largest trading partner and the EU is Korea's second largest export market. The two have signed a free trade agreement which came into effect at end of 2011.[1]


  • Agreements 1
  • Meetings 2
  • Trade 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The first EU - South Korea agreement was Agreement on Co-operation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters (signed on 13 May 1997).[2] This agreement allows the sharing of competition policy between the two parties.[3] The second agreement, the Framework Agreement on Trade and Co-operation (enacted on 1 April 2001). The framework attempts to increase co-operation on several industries, including transport, energy, science and technology, industry, environment and culture.[3][4]

In 2010, the EU and Korea signed a new framework agreement and a free trade agreement (FTA) which is the EU's first FTA with an Asian country and removes virtually all tariffs and many non-tariff barriers. On the basis of this, the EU and Korea decided in October 2010 to upgrade their relationship to a Strategic Partnership. These agreements will be provisionally in force by the end of 2011.[1]


EU-Korea summits have taken place in 2002 (Copenhagen), 2004 (Hanoi) and 2006 (Helsinki) on the sidelines of ASEM meetings. In 2009, the first stand alone bilateral meeting was held in Seoul. The European Parliament delegation for relations with Korea visits the country twice a year for discussions with their Korean counterparts. Meetings at foreign minister level take place at least once a year on the sidelines of ASEAN regional form meetings, however meetings between the Korean foreign minister and the EU High Representative have occurred more frequently, for example at G20 meetings. At hoc meetings between officials occur nearly monthly.[5]


Trade between the two parties surpassed € 80 billion in 2011. The EU is the fourth largest importer of South Korean goods (after China, Japan and the US). South Korea is the tenth largest importer of EU goods.[3] According to some studies, an agreement can increase trade as much as 40% over the long term.[6]

EU – Korea trade in 2010[2]
Direction of trade Goods Services Investment flow Investment stocks
EU to Korea €28 billion €6 billion €0.5 billion €28.9 billion
Korea to EU €38.7 billion €3.9 billion €1 billion €9.9 billion


  1. ^ a b Republic of Korea, European External Action Service
  2. ^ a b Bilateral relations Korea, European Commission
  3. ^ a b c "European Commission - South Korea Briefing". European Commission. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  4. ^ "FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT for Trade and Cooperation between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the Republic of Korea, on the other hand". European Commission. 2001-03-30. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  5. ^ Political relations, EU delegation to Korea
  6. ^ "S. Korea Strives to Ink FTA With EU at Early Date". The Korea Times. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 

External links

  • EU delegation to Korea
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