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IRIS 2010-1:1/5

European Commission

Free-Trade Agreement EU-South Korea

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Kim de Beer

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 15 October 2009, the European Union and South Korea signed a free-trade agreement (FTA) which is considered to be the most important FTA ever negotiated between the EU and a third country. In the Global Europe trade policy strategy of 2006, South Korea was designated a priority FTA partner. In May 2007, negotiations were launched for an FTA and, after eight rounds of talks, agreement on the text was reached. The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs and many non-tariff barriers between the two economies. The agreement is estimated to be worth EUR 19 billion in new trade for EU exporters.

The agreement contains a Protocol on Cultural Co-operation, which underlines the specific characteristics of this sector. The Protocol sets up the framework for facilitating exchanges regarding cultural activities, including those in the audiovisual sector. There are several provisions in the Protocol which are specifically relevant to the audiovisual sector.

According to Article 4 of the Protocol, the parties shall endeavour to facilitate the entry into their territory and temporary stay of artists, actors, technicians and other cultural professionals from the other party who are involved in the shooting of cinematographic films or television programmes. The Protocol makes it easier for professionals from the audiovisual sector to enter and temporarily stay in the territory of the other party.

The Protocol contains a specific section with provisions relating to audiovisual works. Article 5 concerns audiovisual co-productions produced by producers of both Korea and the EU in which those producers have invested. The negotiations of co-production agreements between Member States of the European Union and Korea shall be encouraged. The Article states that under certain conditions co-produced audiovisual works are entitled to benefit from the schemes of both parties on the promotion of local or regional cultural content. Any problem which arises under the Protocol, including the co-production provisions, can be referred to the Committee on Cultural Cooperation. The Committee will be established according to Article 3 of the Protocol.

Article 6 of the Protocol contains several provisions on audiovisual cooperation. For example, the parties will strive to promote audiovisual works of the other party through the organisation of festivals and similar initiatives. The parties also agree to cooperate in the area of broadcasting with the aim of promoting cultural exchange by, for example, exchanging audiovisual works and information on broadcasting policy. The other provisions concern interoperability, the rental of material necessary for the production of audiovisual works and the digitisation of audiovisual archives.

The last Article in the subsection on audiovisual works contains provisions on shooting audiovisual works in the territory of the other party. Both parties agree to promote their territory as a location for the purpose of shooting audiovisual works. They shall also allow the temporary importation of the material and equipment necessary to shoot audiovisual works.

In early 2010, the European Commission will present the agreement to the EU Member States. Then it has to be presented for approval to the European Parliament. The entry into force of the agreement is expected in the second half of 2010.

EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Protocol 3 on Cultural Co-operation, signed on 15 October 2009 EN