Friday, September 17, 2010

EU to Ratify First Free Trade Deal with Asian Partner

(New York Times – Stephen Castle)

The European Union agreed Thursday to sign a sweeping new free trade agreement with South Korea – its first with an Asian trade partner – after Italy removed objections that had threatened to block the deal.

Politicians and officials welcomed the announcement as an important signal for free trade and proof that protectionist pressures are being resisted, despite the uncertainty in the global economy.

“This the first generation of bilateral trade agreements which will bind Europe and Asia together in an ever-closer economic bond,” said Steven Vanackere, vice prime minister and foreign minister of Belgium, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency. “This is a very big step in opening markets in Asia for our companies.” Read more here.