EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement – Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter

EESC opinion: EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement – Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter

The EESC recognises that overall the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Korea has produced encouraging economic and social results. However, the implementation of the sustainable development aspects of the FTA, particularly labour issues, remais unsatisfactory. The Committee reiterates the positions taken by the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG), notably that the Commission should open consultations with the Korean government about the implementation of its commitments on freedom of associationn and collective bargaining.


  • The civil society mechanisms in the Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter of the EU-Korea FTA have been strengthened continuously over the last five years. Given the increasing number of EU trade agreements entering into force and the consequent increase in the number of civil society monitoring mechanisms in place, the Commission must now urgently ensure that the necessary funds are made available so to enable those mechanisms to operate effectively.
  • In order to ensure the effective implementation of the TSD chapter, the EESC considers it paramount that the Parties take into consideration and follow-up the civil society recommendations provided by the DAGs and the Civil Society Forum.
  • The EESC underlines the importance of continuing to raise awareness among European businesses, particularly SMEs, regarding the opportunities offered by this FTA.
  • The EU-Korea FTA has been very important for the agri-food sector, and the Commission should do more for a simplified access of the European agricultural and food products on the Korean market.
  • The Committee underlines the importance of the consultative mechanisms established by the EU-Korea FTA as effective and representative tools that can support the European institutions in their actions related to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, and to strengthen the international cooperation on sustainable development, environmental protection and cimate change.