EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and Its Implications for the United States [June 16, 2011] [open pdf - 300KB]
"On October 6, 2010, the 27 member European Union (EU) and South Korea signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). The South Korean National Assembly and the EU Parliament have ratified the agreement. The agreement is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2011. The South Korea-EU FTA (KOREU FTA) is the largest FTA in terms of market size that South Korea has entered into. The KOREU FTA reflects the EU and South Korean trade strategies to use FTAs to strengthen economic ties outside their home regions. It also builds upon the surge in trade and investment flows between South Korea and the EU over the past decade. This agreement has possible implications for U.S. trade with South Korea and congressional action on the proposed U.S.-South Korea FTA (KORUS FTA). […] U.S. and European firms are close competitors in a number of sectors and industries, particularly autos. Some business representatives argue that enactment of the KOREU FTA before enactment of the KORUS FTA would give European competitors commercial first mover advantages, since EU firms, such as those in the auto industry or the services sector, could gain greater market opportunities in South Korea not afforded to U.S. firms. On the other hand, other factors could also mitigate such advantages. For example, U.S. multinational firms operating in the EU could benefit from the KOREU FTA. Nevertheless, the content and fate of the KOREU FTA could influence the pace and tone of any debate in the United States on the KORUS FTA in the 112th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, R41534