1 July 2019 will mark the eighth anniversary of the EU-South Korea free trade agreement. The agreement phases out tariffs on industrial and agricultural products. The FREE Trade Agreement BETWEEN the EU and South Korea (EEA) removes almost 99% of all import tariffs on products originating in the EU or South Korea1, making exports easier and cheaper. It has been in effect since 2011 and needs only a simple declaration to add to the commercial invoice. EU exports to South Korea increased by 77% between 2010 and 2018 and European companies enjoy duty-free access to the lucrative South Korean market.21 The FREE trade agreement BETWEEN the EU and Korea in practice – see page 32 South Korea: Commercial image, European Commission, December 2019 NOTE: The trade agreement applies to tariffs, not taxation. All VAT on imports into the EU or South Korea has yet to be paid. The European Commission publishes information on committees set up under the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. This is part of its commitment to a more transparent and inclusive trade and investment policy. Italian carmakers and some French carmakers believe the deal would be of grave harm to them, as it would allow South Korean carmakers to compete with them in the EU. Adolfo Urso, a young Italian foreign trade minister, said the Italian government could veto the agreement on the basis of the concerns of European car manufacturers, which it originally did in September 2010. Trade analysts such as ECIPE`s Hosuk Lee-Makiyama have dismissed car industry lobbying as a “myth”: while EU exports to Korea are estimated at 400%, most Asian brands produce their cars in the EU and Korean cars account for an insignificant share of imports to the EU, which even threaten even the most inefficient car manufacturers in Europe.  Italy abandoned its objections in exchange for the postponement of the provisional application of the agreement from 1 January 2011 to 1 July 2011.
 The agreement has created new opportunities for access to services and investment markets and contains provisions in areas such as competition policy, public procurement, intellectual property rights, regulatory transparency and sustainable development. The agreement established a number of specialized commissions and working groups between the two parties to monitor implementation. The agreement removes tariffs on 98% of import duties and trade barriers for industrial products, agricultural products and services over a five-year period.  It ensures that South Korean vehicle emissions regulations are not harmful to European car manufacturers and contains a clause to protect European car manufacturers.    Trade between the two parties amounted to EUR 64 billion in 2007.