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Most retailers to cut prices of EU imports on FTA

More than 60 percent of Korean retailers plan to lower prices of imports from the European Union following the implementation of a bilateral free trade deal, a poll showed Monday.

According to the survey of 619 retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 61.3 percent of the retailers said that they will reduce prices of EU imports to reflect the decrease in tariffs eliminated or lowered by the free trade agreement that took effect on July 1.

Nearly 50 percent of the wholesalers surveyed also said they will cut prices, with 50.3 percent of the manufacturers polled saying they will do the same.

The Korea-EU FTA calls for abolishing or phasing out tariffs on 96 percent of EU goods and 99 percent of South Korean goods within three years after the accord takes effect.

The KCCI survey showed that 69.6 percent of the total respondents believed imports of EU products would register a big increase as a result of the implementation of the FTA.

“The lowering or elimination of tariffs will lead to increased imports and tougher competition with local products, contributing to price stability and giving consumer spending a shot in the arm,” said the KCCI.

Korea’s consumer prices surged 4.4 percent in June from a year earlier, quickening from the previous month’s 4.1 percent gain.

The state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy said in a recent report that the FTA would help boost South Korea’s exports by $11 billion and its economic growth by 5.6 percent.

Trade between the 27-member economic bloc and Korea totaled $92.2 billion last year, rising around 17 percent from 2009. 

(Yonhap News)