Last year marked the tenth anniversary of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and Korea, which entered into force in 2011. The EU is the world’s largest economy and Korea’s third largest trade partner, only after China and the United States. Back when the FTA negotiations began in 2007, the EU was Korea’s second largest export destination, from which Korea enjoyed the largest surplus. Also, more than 35 per cent of Korea’s foreign direct investment came from the member states of the EU. Korea is also a major economy and a major trade partner of the EU, especially in Asia. The FTA with Korea was the first case of the EU’s “next generation” FTAs, and is considered to have served as a benchmark for the EU’s bilateral trade agreements thereafter (Kang 2016). As for Korea, it was the first FTA with a major economy, even before the US, its traditional ally, and China, its closest neighbor.
Because of its importance, the Korea-EU FTA has received attention from economics and trade policy. KIEP also took a look at the first decade of its implementation last year (Joe et al. 2021). This Brief introduces some of the findings in Joe et al. (2021), focusing on the impact of the FTA on the bi-lateral economic relationship between the two sides.
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