In Brussels today the EU member states authorized the signature of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the Republic of Korea and decided that it should apply provisionally from the beginning of July 2011. This marks the successful conclusion of roughly three years of negotiations which started in 2007 under Germany’s Presidency of the EU.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (16 September) issued the following statement in Brussels:
“The signing of the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea is a very good result. The FTA with South Korea can function as a model for other trade agreements which Germany and the EU hope to conclude with other partners in Asia. We got very good results, particularly on the matter of dismantling non-tariff barriers to trade. The Federal Government was intensely committed to seeing a rapid conclusion of the negotiations and to promoting the interests of German companies.”
The Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, said:
“The Free Trade Agreement with South Korea affords good export opportunities for German companies. Right up until the last moment in Brussels, Germany was pushing for a quick signing. The fact that we were successful is proof that cooperation between the Economics Ministry and the Foreign Office to benefit Germany’s export-oriented economy functions very well. I would have preferred an earlier phase-in of tariff reductions. What is important, however, is that we’ve now got the Agreement under our belts. It is a clear commitment to open markets and a rejection of protectionism.”
With this Agreement consensus has been reached for the first time on a comprehensive dismantling of non-tariff barriers to trade. This will also improve export opportunities for the automotive sector.
The European Parliament is expected to approve the FTA in the course of the next few weeks. It will then enter into force provisionally on 1 July 2011.
Additional new export opportunities are expected for German companies particularly in the mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical and electrical engineering sectors, as well as for automotive component suppliers. The services sector is also expected to benefit.
Joint press release from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Foreign Office