Yesterday, October 22nd, EU authorities refused the request made by France to monitor auto imports from South Korea.
In August, France requested the European Commission to ask South Korea to offer an advance notice regarding the cars it plans to export to the EU. Europe has seen an increase in auto shipments from South Korea beginning with July 2011 when a free trade agreement entered force. Over the past year ended June, auto imports from South Korea increased 41%, and in France was 24%.
France requested this advance notice as it is unfair to the domestic automakers which plan to cut jobs and close plants only to be able to survive on the continent. The EU Commission told France that its request cannot be met, as this would mean showing that imports are concentrated in one or several EU member states and this is not true.
“While it is true that the car sector in the EU, and in particular in France, is going through a difficult period, this cannot be attributed to the entry into force of the EU-Korea FTA,” EU Trade spokesman John Clancy said.
The EU considers the FTA with South Korea a model for future trade deals, as it includes a clause according to which Brussels has the right to re-impose duties if producers in certain industries are affected by a surge in imports. The Commission said that Korean imports was down 37% compared with the level before the crisis, and that an increase would only mean a recovery for the industry.