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News article30 November 2022BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade

EU and Korea sign Digital Trade Principles

Today, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis and Korean Minister for Trade Ahn Dukgeun co-chaired the 10th Trade Committee between the EU and the Republic of Korea.

Ministers agreed to add 85 new geographical indications to the EU-Korea Trade Agreement. They also signed a set of Digital Trade Principles, intensifying the EU-Korea relationship in the field of digital trade. The principles are also a key deliverable under the Digital Partnership signed by the two sides earlier this week.

The EU and Korea are strategic partners and are jointly committed to upholding the rules-based multilateral system, by cooperating closely in international fora such as the WTO and the G20, as well as in the context of holding Russia to account for its brutal aggression against Ukraine.  

Korea is a key partner for the EU in the Indo-Pacific Region, the first with whom the EU concluded a trade agreement. The agreement is a true success story, which has helped increase bilateral trade in goods by over 70% in ten years. It is also a critical framework for the two sides to advance on the digital transition and sustainable development.

The EU-Korea meeting also offered the opportunity for both sides to exchange views on their respective concerns with regard to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Key Outcomes of the 10th EU-Korea Trade Committee

At the meeting, EVP Dombrovskis and Minister Ahn signed a set of Digital Trade Principles, reflecting the international standards that both partners consider should apply in the digital economy. A key deliverable of the Digital Partnership signed between the EU and Korea earlier this week, the principles demonstrate the EU and Korea’s shared vision of an open digital economy. As such, the principles are an excellent basis for further engagement on digital trade rules.

The Trade Committee confirmed the agreement reached earlier this year on the recognition of EU regionalisation for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in relation to pork and poultry. The EU expects work to be finalised swiftly, with EU exports of pork and poultry to resume in early 2023. The EU also urged Korea to lift its long-standing ban on beef exports from many EU Member States.

Both sides have agreed to add 85 additional geographical indications – including fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, oils, ham, confectionery, and wines and spirits – to the EU-Korea Trade Agreement, ensuring mutual recognition of these special quality products from now on. 

The Committee also discussed cooperation on their shared ambition to deploy renewable energies and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. In this context, the EU underlined the need for Korea’s legislation on offshore wind to comply with WTO and bilateral commitments, notably as regards local content requirements.

Both sides agreed to deepen their ongoing engagement on trade and sustainable development issues. On labour, discussions focused on Korea’s efforts to expedite efforts to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Fundamental Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour and to make further regulatory changes related to the freedom of association.

On trade and environment, both sides welcomed the upcoming conference on the challenges and opportunities associated with decarbonisation and the green transition, which will facilitate dialogue between EU and Korean business and policy stakeholders. Korea, for its part, suggested further cooperation on the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Regarding market access for EU companies in the burgeoning offshore wind sector, the EU welcomed indications by the Korean authorities that they are looking for solutions to ensure the compliance of Korean legislation with WTO and bilateral commitments, notably when it comes to local content rules.

EVP Dombrovskis and Minister Ahn also exchanged views on their respective concerns about the US Inflation Reduction Act, particularly in relation to the series of subsidies which seem to run counter to WTO rules. 

For more information

Digital Trade Principles

Agenda of the 10th Korea-EU Trade Committee

EU-Korea trade relations

Joint Presidential Statement on EU-Korea Digital Partnership


Publication date
30 November 2022
Directorate-General for Trade
Country or region
South Korea
Trade topics
Digital tradeNegotiations and agreements