Korea-EU FTA opens up new opportunities

The Korea-European Union Free Trade Agreement officially went into effect on July 1. The Korea-EU FTA is the first free trade pact that the EU has concluded with an East Asian country, and turns the EU into Korea’s largest free trade partner.

Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon (L) and EU Ambassador to South Korea Tomasz Kozlowski (R) at a reception to celebrate the FTA on, July 1. (Photo: Yonhap News)

The Korea-EU FTA will open new doors and bring new opportunities to Korean companies by eliminating import tariffs on most industrial products and agricultural products, such as rice. Also, the FTA will allow consumers to purchase imported goods such as cheese and beef at lower prices.

Cargo officials checking products (L), Imported products arrived in Incheon International Airport Cargo Terminal (R) (Photo: Yonhap News)

The Korea-EU FTA is expected to have an especially large impact on the automobile industry. On average, 15 million Korean cars are sold annually in the EU. As import tariffs are removed, over the next 15 years, Korea auto exports are expected to increase by 1.4 billion dollars.

Korean customers pick up sale wines from Europe at Shinsegae Department Store in Seoul. (Photo: Yonhap News)

The tariff reductions included in the FTA will also help small companies that export to EU markets boost sales, particularly in areas such as automotive and machine parts and the textile industry.

A new era of lower prices on a wide variety of consumer goods is expected to begin, as well, with predicted drops in the prices of wine, cheese, leather goods and musical instruments.

Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon(R) toasts with EU Ambassador to South Korea Tomasz Kozlowski (L) during a reception to celebrate the signing of the FTA on July 1. (Photo: Yonhap News)

The agreement is also expected to spur growth in other areas, as the increased openness of the markets brings new need for interpreters, copyright experts, international lawyers and professional trade officers.

By Oh Jun Kyung
Korea.net Staff Writer

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