Uutinen 17.9.2010

Minister Väyrynen: The free trade agreement with South Korea will bring major benefits to Finnish business

Press Release 267/2010
16 September 2010

At the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 16 September, the EU Member States reached consensus on a free trade agreement to be concluded between the EU and South Korea. The agreement could be signed by the Member States.

According to Minister Väyrynen, the free trade agreement is an important milestone for European trade policy, since it is the most comprehensive free trade agreement negotiated by the EU to date.

The agreement between the EU and South Korea covers all important sectors of trade. It has been estimated that thanks to this arrangement, enterprises in the EU Member States will gain a benefit of about 19 billion euros through reduced duties and improved market entry. Upon its entry into force, the agreement will give the EU an edge in competition, especially with regard to producers in the USA, since the free trade agreement that South Korea and the United States had negotiated earlier has yet to enter into force.

“The agreement will also bring major benefits directly to Finnish business by eliminating barriers to trade and by creating new opportunities for operations in South Korea. Once the agreement is applied, the elimination of duties alone will give an important boost to companies. Consumers will also benefit from the agreement through lower prices. Moreover, the benefits of the agreement will be seen, for instance, in services and investments,” Minister Väyrynen underlined.

South Korea is Finland’s third largest trading partner in Asia. In 2009, Finnish exports totalled about 495 million euros and imports about 478 million euros.

The agreement is expected to be signed at the EU-South Korea summit in October and it will be applied as of 1 July 2011. Before the agreement can be signed in October, it must still be approved by the European Parliament. The Parliament is expected to discuss the issue later in September.

Additional information: First Secretary Keijo Norvanto, tel. +358 9 1605 6409 or mobile tel. +358 40 720 3983, Päivi Nevala, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 9 1605 6171 or mobile tel. +358 40 753 4375, and Hanna Saarni, Press Attaché to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 9 1605 5356 or mobile tel. +358 400 739 824