South Korea has opposed previous free trade agreements, including with the United States. This EU agreement is bigger than that of the United States. But South Korea`s deputy finance minister Hur Kyung-wook said he believed the agreement would come into force in July 2010.  On 22 March 2011, the citizens` group Lawyers for Democratic Society (민사회를 위변호사모임) announced that there were 160 cases of error in the false translation in the Korean version of the document.  The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement has been implemented on an interim basis since July 2011, before being formally ratified in December 2015. The free trade agreement also addresses non-tariff barriers, particularly in the automotive, pharmacy, medical device and electronics sectors. Trade between the two sides amounted to 64 billion euros in 2007. The EU is the second largest importer of South Korean products. South Korea is the eighth largest importer of EU products.  The agreement is commonly referred to as the first of the next generation of free trade agreements signed by the EU that address trade issues beyond tariffs.
These main concerns include non-tariff barriers (NBEN); they are significant barriers to trade in both Korea and the EU. Nb is estimated to have the same level of protection as a tariff of 76% in Korea and 46% in the EU.  According to some studies, an agreement could, in the long run, increase trade by 40%.  The agreement removes tariffs on 98% of import duties and trade barriers for industrial products, agricultural products and services over a five-year period.  It ensures that South Korean vehicle emissions regulations are not harmful to European car manufacturers and contains a clause to protect European car manufacturers.    In 2016, five years after the provisional entry into force of the free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea, the European Commission announced that EU exports to South Korea increased by 55%; European companies have saved 2.8 billion euros in scrappage or reduced tariffs; Bilateral merchandise trade between the EU and South Korea has increased each year to a record level of more than 90 billion euros in 2015.  1 The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement in practice – see page 3 2 South Korea: Trade Image, European Commission, December 2019 The agreement was the most comprehensive negotiated by the EU at that time: import tariffs on all products are almost abolished and trade in services is deeply liberalised. It contains provisions relating to intellectual property (including geographical indications), public procurement, competition, regulatory transparency and sustainable development. There are also specific obligations against non-tariff barriers in sectors such as automotive, pharmacy and electronics.
 The EU-South Korea free trade agreement is currently in formal conclusion. On 10 July 2009, following differences on the sensitive issue of Korea`s tariff-free policy on trade in goods, the 133rd Committee of the European Union approved the text of the agreement. The ESF reacted positively to this approach and called on EU Member States to speed up the process.