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EU and Korea: like-minded partners

11.03.2012 - 22:36

South Korea has been one of the crucial like-minded partners of the EU in Asia over the past decade. In recent years, the EU-Korea relationship has evolved, culminating in 2010 when two incremental agreements were signed, the new Framework Agreement (FA) and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), creating a broad and comprehensive partnership and a basis for a Strategic Partnership agreed in October 2010.

The broadened co-operation is aimed to boost trade and investment relations, underpin political dialogue, step up co-ordination and dialogue on global issues and stimulate sectoral cooperation especially in areas such as science and technology, innovation, research and development, education and environment.

Since 2007, the EU and Korea were actively engaged in exchange of information on scientific and technological topics and research and development projects in the areas of science and technology. In addition, Agreement on the Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the EU and Korean government was signed to further strengthen collaboration in these key areas for economic growth.

EU and Korea closely worked together to create International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project, which should provide ground-breaking results for the future of our energy supply.

To encourage, facilitate and enhance co- operation in civil global satellite navigation, the EU and Korea signed in 2006 an agreement on global navigation satellite system (GNSS), within the framework of Galileo project.

The ground-breaking Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Korea, integrating the two economies and removing virtually all tariffs and many non-tariff barriers between them, was the EU’s first such deal with an Asian country.

Since the beginning of its provisional application on 1 July 2011, the FTA immediately started delivering positive results. In mere two weeks in place, the EU-Korea FTA elevated EU’s export to Korea by 16%, while the volume of Korean export to the EU rose by 19%. The impact is ever so obvious, taken into consideration that the volume of Korean export to European market was slowly decreasing prior to that.

Granted, over the same period the EU trade deficit with Korea more than halved, but the overall benefits of the increased economic exchange yield profits to both economies, providing multi-billion savings in just tariff cuts. In addition, a joint export market worth more than €30 billion was created, which is expected to more than double EU-South Korea bilateral trade in the next 20 years.

The Framework agreement and Strategic Partnership will bring closer political co-operation on a wide range of international concerns, including non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, cooperation in the fight against terrorism, climate change, energy security and development assistance.