The EU-Korea free trade agreement, the first new-generation trade agreement of the EU, will mark its 8th anniversary in July 2019. The FTA has brought significant economic gains to both Korea and the EU. According to the ex-post evaluation published by the European Commission in March 2019, the EU economy gained additional €4.4 bn in GDP through the FTA (whilst the Korean economy gained €4.9 bn, as measured in 2015 prices), despite the unfavourable external environment, i.e. the post financial crisis period that was not particularly supportive, weighing on demand and trade. It is crucial to ensure that the EU-Korea FTA can be further improved and modernised in a manner to adjust to the respective needs from the parties and to the market evolution and business expectations.
The EU's newest free trade agreement with Japan, which entered into force on January 1, 2019, is expected to increase the EU’s annual exports to Japan by 13.2%, or EUR 13.5 billion. The EU exports over EUR 80 billion of goods and services to Japan every year. A modernisation of the EU-Korea FTA in line with the agreement with Japan could similarly boost EU-Korea trade to the benefit of both parties.