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September 28, 2009

BELGIUM: ACEA warns again on FTA with South Korea

The European carmakers' association ACEA has again warned that current proposals in free trade negotiations between the EU and South Korea give an unfair competitive advantage to Korean industries.

The European carmakers’ association ACEA has again warned that current proposals in free trade negotiations between the EU and South Korea give an unfair competitive advantage to Korean industries.

The trade association said in an open letter to EU member states that the European Commission should improve the conditions of the upcoming free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea  and ensure a more transparent process for all stakeholders.

And ACEA warned that the FTA will have a significant impact on jobs and competitiveness in the EU economy and ‘rushing into signing a bad agreement is wrong’.

ACEA said that it has learned that Trade Commissioner Ashton intends to sign the FTA in October despite there being no indication that important, remaining problems have been solved.

The questions and requests made repeatedly to DG Trade by several Commissioners and Commission services as well as by numerous member states, asking to improve the FTA conditions, should be answered and addressed, ACEA said.

“The current proposals give an unfair competitive advantage to Korean industries and set a harmful precedent for FTAs between the EU and other major trading partners, undermining an important pillar of standing EU trade policy. Such an outcome would affect EU industries far beyond the auto industry alone and pose a severe risk to the manufacturing base of Europe,” said ACEA secretary general Ivan Hodac, speaking in the summer.

“This is unacceptable, and even more so in a time when all efforts are aimed at getting through the current economic crisis. There is absolutely no reason to open a European market of over 500 million people on Korean terms.”

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