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Negotiating a Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement: Easier Said Than Done Asia-Europe Journal, vol.7, n°1, February 2009.


A number of countries have chosen recently to shift away from an exclusive support to trade multilateralism and towards regional or bilateral trade agreements. Being no exceptions in this respect, the Republic of South Korea and the European Union have engaged in a bilateral FTA negotiation in early 2007. The objective of the paper is to account for the unexpected difficulties encountered in the negotiation. The paper starts with a brief overview of the trade and investment relations between the two partners and underlines the complementarity between the two partners, as well as their respective offensive and defensive interests. As a next step, the paper delves into the "politics" of the FTA negotiation with a view to highlighting the motivations and objectives of the various partners involved. It comes to the conclusion that the major reason why the negotiation turned out to be more complex than initially expected relates to the two partners' diverging views as to what a discriminatory FTA should imply.

Asia South Korea United States