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EU approves free trade pact with S Korea

2011-02-17 21:11

STRASBOURG - The European Parliament on Thursday approved a free trade pact between the European Union and South Korea, clearing the last hurdle for the pact to take effect in July.

A total of 465 members of parliament (MEPs) voted for the agreement and 128 were against it, while another 19 abstained.

"Having pushed through a strong safeguard clause to protect European industry and received guarantees from Seoul that the new Korean legislation on car CO2 emission limits would not be detrimental to European car makers, the Parliament today gave its consent to the most ambitious trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated," the Parliament said in a statement.

The EU and South Korea singed the agreement during the fifth summit meeting of the two sides in October.

The agreement aims to eliminate about 98 percent of import duties and other trade barriers in manufactured goods, agricultural products and services over the next five years between the two sides.

The Parliament said the new agreement is expected to create new trade in goods and services worth 19.1 billion euros ($25.7 billion) for the EU and save EU exporters 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) a year.

South Korea is the EU's eighth largest trading partner and the EU is South Korea's second largest export destination.

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