Time to conclude a trade deal with Korea: EU needs to show it supports trade and cooperation

Date

11 Feb 2009

Sections

Climate & Environment

Time to conclude a trade deal with Korea: EU needs to show it supports trade and cooperation
The European engineering industries call for a prompt conclusion of the EU-South Korea trade negotiations that are now entering into a crucial final phase, following the recent successful meetings between Commissioner Ashton and her Korean counterparts.
Europe’s engineering industries plead for the continuation of a trade policy which rejects protectionism at home and which focuses on opening up markets abroad. “Our industries are heavily dependent on open markets and on our industries’ potential to export and invest globally. The Korean market is promising for our industry. However, European firms are already today disadvantaged vis-à-vis their competitors from EFTA countries that can export to Korea with lower or no duties*. Soon Korea and the US will have ratified their bilateral free trade agreement. It is therefore high time that we in the EU conclude our negotiations with Korea too”, said Adrian Harris, Secretary General of Orgalime, the European engineering industries association.
The engineering industries’ exports (especially in various sub-branches of the mechanical engineering industries such as for example machine tools, bearings, valves, handling machinery and others) contribute positively to the EU’s trade with Korea. European firms producing machines and equipment would profit significantly from a new trade deal, since tariff elimination should lead to an increase of European machinery exports to Korea. A number of independent economic studies have shown that both economies, the EU’s as well as Korea’s, would considerably benefit from a new trade deal.
While the EU has now got its priorities right in the internal market with the recent launching of its proposed European Economic Recovery Plan, it is just as important to speed up implementation of the EU’s “Global Europe” trade policy agenda. 
“As our industry is aware, the EU-Korea deal will mark the beginning of a potential new wave of Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) that the EU is about to conclude. It is therefore of paramount importance to negotiate a high quality and comprehensive agreement which can serve as a standard for the future. Particular attention needs to be paid to the issues of the rules of origin, NTBs (certification) and to limiting the introduction of new rules which would be detrimental to the operations of our companies, particularly SMEs”, Harris concluded. 
 
 
* EU engineering companies need to pay an average of 8 % tariffs when exporting to Korea.