Korea, Republic of

Relation: 

The EFTA States signed a Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong, China, on 15 December 2005. The Agreement entered into force on 1 September 2006 for Korea, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and 1 October 2006 for Iceland.

Summary

The Free Trade Agreement covers all major areas of trade relations including trade in goods, trade in services, government procurement, competition and intellectual property. A Joint Committee is established for the supervision of the Agreement, and a chapter provides for dispute settlement procedures. Moreover, the EFTA States and Korea concluded bilateral agreements on basic agricultural products. An agreement on investment has been concluded between Korea, on the one hand, and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, on the other, as well.

Content of the Free Trade Agreement

The Agreement consists of ten Chapters, 88 Articles, 13 Annexes and one Record of Understanding. The Agreement covers the following main issues:

Trade in Goods

Industrial Goods and Fish and Marine Products

Most industrial goods, including fish and other marine products, will benefit from duty-free access to the respective markets as of the entry into force of the Agreement. For some products imported into Korea, customs duties are to be eliminated after a transitional period or after a joint review by the Parties (Annex V and Annex VI). 

Agricultural Products

Trade in processed agricultural products are covered in Annex IV to the main Agreement. In addition, trade in basic agricultural products is covered in three bilateral agreements on basic agricultural products negotiated between the respective EFTA State and Korea. These agreements form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area. They provide for concessions on both sides.

Rules of Origin

The Agreement provides for liberal rules of origin and allows for the use of up to 60 per cent of non-originating input in the production of certain products (Annex I).

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)

The Agreement contains a provision on sanitary and phytosanitary measures referring to the relevant WTO Agreement.

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)

The Agreement contains provisions on technical regulations, referring to the relevant WTO Agreement and providing for strengthened cooperation, exchange of information and consultations.

Trade Remedies

The Agreement contains provisions on trade remedies referring to the relevant WTO rules and provides for additional disciplines on such measures including enhanced notifications and consultations. 

Trade in Services

Trade in services is covered in a general chapter (Chapter III, Articles 3.1 to 3.20) and in Annexes on specific commitments (Annex VII), most-favoured-nation (MFN) exemptions (Annex VIII), mutual recognition (Annex IX), telecommunication services (Annex X), and co-production of a broadcasting programmes (Annex XI). The Agreement covers all four modes of delivery (supply) of a service, as defined under GATS, and addresses all services sectors.

As in the GATS, the positive lists of specific commitments of each Party are an integral part of the Agreement. These lists will be reviewed every two years, with the objective of further liberalisation of trade in services between the Parties.

Trade in financial services is dealt with in a special chapter (Chapter IV, Articles 4.1 to 4.21) that also establishes a Sub-Committee on Financial Services. 

Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)

The Agreement sets a high standard for the protection of intellectual property rights (Articles 7.1 to 7.3 and Annex XIII), covering areas such as patents, trademarks and copyright, and goes, in certain areas, beyond what is provided for under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international conventions and treaties.

Government Procurement

In the Chapter on government procurement (Article 6.1 to 6.3 and Annex XII), the Parties recognise that the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA) governs the rights and obligations of the Parties. The Chapter also ensures that the Parties can have an “early harvest” of the outcome of the negotiations between the Parties in the context of the negotiations aiming at amending the WTO GPA.

Competition

The Chapter on competition (Article 5.1) deals mainly with the co-operation, notification, consultation and exchange of non-confidential information between the Parties. In particular, consultations are provided for when important interests of Korea or an EFTA Member State may be adversely affected.

Institutional Provisions

The Agreement establishes a Joint Committee (Article 8.1), which supervises and administers the Agreement and oversees the further elaboration of the Agreement. Information exchanges and consultations can take place in the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee also takes decisions in cases provided for by the Agreement or makes recommendations.

Dispute Settlement

A Chapter on dispute settlement (Articles 9.1 to 9.11) contains rules and procedures for the avoidance or settlement of disputes arising from the Agreement between one or several EFTA States and Korea.

Investment Agreement

An agreement on investment (Investment Agreement) was separately concluded between Korea, on the one hand, and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, on the other. This agreement covers both access to markets and the protection of investments. The three EFTA States and Korea grant each other national treatment for the establishment of investors, except for a few cases where the Parties have lodged reservations based on restrictions in their national legislation. The agreement also foresees the possibility of direct dispute settlement between an investor and the Party of his investment.

Annexes and Record of Understanding

Annexes, Record of Understanding, Joint Declarations and Final Act

Trade in Goods Annex I Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures   Explanatory Notes
      Appendix 1 Introductory Notes
      Appendix 2 List Rules
      Appendix 3 Origin Declaration
      Appendix 4 Exemptions from the Principle of Territoriality
  Annex II Territorial Application    
  Annex III Excluded Products    
  Annex IV Processed Agricultural Products Table I  
      Table II  
  Annex V Fish and Other Marine Products    
  Annex VI Customs Duties Appendix  
Trade in Services Annex VII Schedules of Specific Commitments Appendix 1 Korea
      Appendix 2 Iceland
      Appendix 3 Liechtenstein
      Appendix 4 Norway
      Appendix 5 Switzerland
  Annex VIII List of MFN-Exemptions    
  Annex IX Mutual Recognition    
  Annex X Telecommunications Services    
  Annex XI Co-production of Broadcasting Programmes    
Government Procurement Annex XII Contact Points Regarding Government Procurement    
IPR Annex XIII Intellectual Property Rights
Other   Record of Understanding  
    Joint Declaration - Customs    
    Declaration by Korea and Switzerland on Medical Devices    
    Final Act    

 

Bilateral Agreements on Agriculture
Iceland-Korea
Norway-Korea
Switzerland-Korea - English / French / German / Italian

 

Joint Committee Decisions
Decision Subject Adopted Entry into force
2015
No. 2/2015 Amendment to Annex I to the Agreement on Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures 1.05.2015 pending
No. 1/2015 Amendment to Annex I to the Agreement on Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures 1.05.2015 1.05.2015
2012
No. 1/2012 Amendment to Annex I to the Agreement on Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures 14.03.2012 1.12.2017
2010
No. 1/2010 Amendment to Annex I to the Agreement on Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures 21.01.2010 01.01.2012
2009
No. 6/2009 Annex VI 21.04.2009 01.11.2010
No. 5/2009 Annex V 21.04.2009 01.01.2011
No. 4/2009 Annex IV 21.04.2009 01.01.2011
No. 3/2009 Annex III 21.04.2009 01.01.2011
No. 2/2009 Annex I 21.04.2009 01.11.2010
No. 1/2009 Model Rules of Procedure for arbitration 21.04.2009 21.04.2009
2008
No. 1/2008 Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee 28.05.2008 28.05.2008

 

Other Agreements

Investment Agreement

Investment Agreement Annex I Reservations by Korea  
    Annex II Reservations by Iceland  
    Annex III Reservations by Liechtenstein  
    Annex IV Reservations by Switzerland  
    Annex V Reservations by The EFTA Parties  
Statistics

For EFTA-Korea trade statistics, see EFTA Trade Statistics Tool

Officer
Trade Relations Division

+41 223322 633

Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 17 September 2019