Irish Exporters Association optimistic about EU and South Korea FTA
The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) has pointed to the FTA between the EU and South Korea as an impetus for exportation and job growth. Signed last October and set to go into effect July 1, the FTA is expected to increase European trade with Korea by a staggering €19 billion.
In 2010, Irish exports to Korea reached €357 million. But this number will soon rise, IEA officials said. In fact, the IEA estimated that the FTA will increase exports to Korea by 50 percent in the coming years.
“The agreement between the EU and South Korea marks a significant achievement in improving our trade links. It will provide a real boost to jobs and growth in Ireland at this critical time,” IEA Chief Executive John Whelan said in a statement. “This wide-ranging and innovative deal is a benchmark for what can be achieved in other trade agreements.”
Still, Whelan hopes that more FTAs are on the horizon. “The IEA urges the government to become more proactive in pushing for further FTAs at the EU,” he said. “In particular, the IEA recommends that FTAs should be a key focus of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
According to Whelan, the agreement references both import taxes and non-tariff barriers to international trade. Because the FTA will eliminate import taxes between Ireland and South Korea, as well as other trade barriers, the IAE estimates that it will slash the costs of conducting business with Korea by nearly €16 million a year.
The United States signed a similar FTA with Korea in 2007. The agreement is currently pending Congressional approval and is expected to be debated later this month.
The U.S. has good reason to push the agenda: President Barack Obama estimated that the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement will provide more than 70,000 jobs and help double the nation’s exports within five years.