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 on gave its consent to the most ambitious trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated.

Thursday result, with 465 votes for, 128 against and 19 abstentions, follows two and a half years of negotiations and closes the EU procedure for ratification of the agreement, which will come into effect in July 2011.

“With the safeguard clause built in, this deal is very good news for European industry. We have opened our markets to cheaper products that will benefit consumers and Korea has opened its markets to our exporters, who will benefit from significant extra demand”', said Robert Sturdy (ECR, UK), the MEP steering the legislation through Parliament.

The long-awaited agreement aims to eliminate about 98% of import duties and other trade barriers in manufactured goods, agricultural products and services over the next five years.

It is expected to create new trade in goods and services worth €19.1 billion for the EU and save EU exporters €1.6 billion a year. It also covers trade-related activities such as government procurement, intellectual property rights, labor standards and environmental issues.

Source: Merco Press