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EUR: EU, South Korea reach free trade deal

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The EU and South Korea have reached a deal in talks to establish a Free Trade Agreement, which is set to benefit Scotch whisky exports to Korea.

A final compromise has been reached "on all outstanding issues" in negotiations, South Korea's trade minister, Kim Jong-Hoon, and the trade minister for Sweden, Ewa Bjorling, announced this week. Sweden this month assumed the EU's rotating presidency.

In a joint release, both ministers said they "look forward to rapidly advancing work so as to allow early initialling of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Commission and Korea".

The final agreement is yet to be signed, however. 

Once implemented, the deal is likely to cut Korea's import tariffs on Scotch whisky by 20%, yielding greater access to what is already the fifth largest export market by value for Scotch, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

The European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) said today (17 July): "Korea is an important market for the industry and the FTA would see the elimination of tariffs on spirits over a three to five year period, improved protection of EU Geographical Indications and more consistent product labelling."

CEPS director general Jamie Fortescue said: "We have strongly supported the European Commission throughout its negotiations with South Korea and are delighted to see the discussions coming to fruition. In light of the global economic downturn this agreement will provide a significant boost for our spirit producers."

 


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Scotch Whisky Association

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