The Ireland South MEP sought out expert industry opinion on the Irish products best placed to capitalise on South Korea’s new relaxed approach to trade relations with the EU.
Mr Kelly said: “The EU’s trade deal with South Korea, which came into effect last month, is considered the most ambitious deal ever concluded by the EU. The deal will see trade tariffs eventually slashed by 98.7%. It is expected to boost trade by tens of billions of euro a year between the new trade partners and Ireland’s export industry could also see a welcome boost as a result.”
While negotiations were ongoing earlier this year, Mr Kelly sought out the opinion of Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Politics and Economy. Mr Erixon said that Ireland’s South Korean export potential is centred on three main products: pork, dairy and whiskey.
“Ireland’s pig sector has been struggling recently due to increased feed costs, but pork producers and dairy farmers could see a jump in exports with a new trade deal with South Korea if we pursue the market,” said Mr Kelly.
“Ireland’s quality whiskey exports could also benefit, having been cited as a potential growth area by Mr Erixon. IBEC 2010 results showed Irish exports jumped by 21% in the first quarter of 2010 — over double the figure recorded during the same period of 2008. This is a very positive, welcome indication and one which we need to continue to build on.”
South Korea is the world’s 12th largest economy. With bilateral trade at €54.6bn last year, the EU-Korea FTA it is one of the biggest ever deals between two economies, rivalled only by Australia’s trade pacts with China and the United States.