EU exports to South Korea have increased by 55% since the free trade agreement (FTA) between South-Korea and the EU entered into force five years ago, according to a detailed European Commission report released today to mark the agreement’s anniversary.
Bilateral trade in goods between the two trading partners has been growing constantly since 2011, and reached a record level of over 90 billion euros in 2015. The EU-Korea trade deal has helped turn the EU’s trade deficit with South Korea into a trade surplus, and has turned Korea into one of the EU’s top ten export markets. EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström commented: “The numbers speak for themselves. The evidence of our agreement with Korea should help convince the unconvinced that Europe benefits greatly from more free trade. When our companies can export more easily, or when money saved from scrapped customs duties can be reinvested in company development, it spurs European growth. It safeguards and creates jobs. This anniversary gives us many reasons to roll up our sleeves and conclude all other pending EU trade deals that are on the table.” The agreement has opened new opportunities for many small European businesses in such diverse sectors as food and drink, pottery, packaging, sports equipment and book binding technology. In total, European companies have saved €2.8 billion in scrapped or discounted customs duties over the past five years.