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Korea, Europe now in one market


The Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement took effect Friday, beginning the process of removing tariffs on more than 20,000 items produced in Korea and the EU.

Negotiations over the pact, which began in May 2007, came to a close in October 2009 when the agreement was penciled in, and in October 2010 the agreement was formally signed by the leaders of Korea and the EU.

Under the agreement, tariffs on 11,261 items produced in Korea and 9,842 items produced in the EU will be removed over seven years.

According to the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea, the pact will open up new trade opportunities in goods and services worth 31.9 billion euros ($45.6 billion) for the EU and Korea, and remove 2.7 billion euros in tariffs placed on goods traded between the two parties.

With the EU being the largest trade partner yet to implement such a deal with Korea, local think tanks are projecting significant benefits for Korea’s economy.

The EU is Korea’s second-largest export destination, and European goods account for the fourth-largest portion of Korea’s imports.

According to the results of studies conducted by state-run think tanks including the Korea Development Institute, the country’s gross domestic product could expand by as much as 5.6 percent in the 10 years following the Korea-EU FTA’s implementation.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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