The Korean Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, on April 5, 2011, was approved in a Korean cabinet meeting, thus, allowing the Bill to be sent to the Korean National Assembly for approval.
The Korean EU FTA will eliminate, within five years of enactment, nearly 98% of Korean import duties. The Korean government and EU trade delegation agreed to promulgate the law by July 1 of this year, but if the Bill is not sent to the assembly before May (May Day Election Year Protests) – the Assembly may run into difficulties in promulgating the law before the July deadline.
The EU parliament approved the law in February of this year; the Korean side has been slow because of some puzzling translation errors (200+) and the typical political bickering issues.
This FTA will open many opportunities for products that were subject to the higher range of tariffs rates and also will bring down the cost of some of the ubiquitous Korean and EU products for consumers. We suspect to see the more creative EU traders target product lines that were priced out of the Korean market because of high tariffs on certain product lines.
The U.S. Congress better get its act together or an opportunity will be lost to the EU.
IPG Legal has two Korean National Assembly members as firm members. Both members have strongly supported FTAs with the U.S. and the E.U.