EU Commission welcomes European Parliament backing for free trade deal with South Korea

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, today welcomed the European Parliament's support for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and South Korea. An overwhelming majority of MEPs voted for the deal (465 MEPs in favour) meaning that from 1st July 2011 businesses from both sides will be able to trade more freely and easily than ever before. This is the first time that the European Parliament has endorsed a trade agreement and adopted accompanying trade legislation under the Lisbon Treaty procedures.
Friday 18 February 2011 (7 years 5 months 5 days ago)
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, today welcomed the European Parliament's support for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and South Korea. An overwhelming majority of MEPs voted for the deal (465 MEPs in favour) meaning that from 1st July 2011 businesses from both sides will be able to trade more freely and easily than ever before. This is the first time that the European Parliament has endorsed a trade agreement and adopted accompanying trade legislation under the Lisbon Treaty procedures.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament is required to give its consent on the EU's trade agreements and to be co-legislator on trade matters with the Council. The Safeguard Regulation, that accompanies the EU-South Korea FTA, is the first major co-decision file on trade in which the EP was involved. This was also adopted today [with 495 MEPs voting in favour].

Today's votes pave the way for the provisional application of the agreement as of 1 July 2011. The EU Member States will have to ratify the agreement according to their own laws and procedures before conclusion, which might take place in several years' time. This will however not affect the provisional application of the FTA.

In terms of tariffs, South Korea and the EU will eliminate 98.7% of duties in trade value for both industrial and agricultural products within 5 years from the entry into force of the FTA. The remaining products, with a few exceptions in the agricultural sector, will become duty free over longer transitional periods, i.e. periods during which the tariffs will be phased out. This is the most ambitious trade coverage ever achieved in a FTA negotiated by the EU.

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/194&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=ca

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