He expressed hope that trade ministers will approve the signing and provisional application of the free trade agreement on Friday, adding that once the decision is taken, it would be possible to initial the agreement and forward the text to Parliament for approval. The EU and South Korea meet regularly to discuss issues and best practices in the implementation of the agreement. The committees, working groups and other bodies of the agreement meet regularly. Italy is ready to block a free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and South Korea unless European carmakers have a year to prepare for the removal of trade barriers. Meanwhile, the European Parliament is using its new legal muscles in the agreement. This is the third trade agreement signed between South Korea and the European Union. The first, the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters, was signed on 13 May 1997.  This agreement allows the establishment of a common competition policy between the two parties.  The second agreement, the Framework Agreement on Trade and Cooperation, entered into force on 1 April 2001. The framework aims to strengthen cooperation in different sectors, including transport, energy, science and technology, industry, environment and culture.   Trade between the two parties amounted to EUR 64 billion in 2007. The EU is the second largest importer of South Korean products.
South Korea is the eighth largest importer of goods from the EU.  The agreement is commonly referred to as the first next-generation free trade agreement signed by the EU to address trade issues beyond tariffs. These concerns include non-tariff barriers (NTBs); they face significant barriers to trade, both in Korea and in the European Union. In fact, it has been estimated that NTBs have the same level of protection as a tariff of 76% in Korea and 46% in the EU.  According to some studies, an agreement can increase trade by up to 40% in the long term.  On October 12, 2011, the U.S. Congress approved the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. On October 21, 2011, the President of the United States signed legislation implementing the agreement. On November 22, 2011, the Korean National Assembly approved the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force on March 15, 2012. It went further than any previous EU agreements on the removal of trade barriers and was also the EU`s first trade agreement with an Asian country. The agreement was the most comprehensive the EU has ever negotiated so far: import duties on all products have been almost eliminated and trade in services is deeply liberal.
It contains provisions on intellectual property (including geographical indications), public procurement, competition, regulatory transparency and sustainable development. . . .