Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-09-14-Speech-1-181"

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"Mr President, South Korea is the EU’s fourth largest external trading partner, with an export volume of around EUR 30 billion a year. Concluding the free trade agreement is thus very much in the interests of European employers and European workers. Furthermore, Commissioner, I have no intention of congratulating you today, as the agreement has not yet been signed, but if you really do manage, in these times of crisis – at a time when export rates around the world have fallen apart as never before in history – to wrap up the free trade agreement, that would be a tremendous achievement which, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you could achieve. Trade agreements are often highly controversial, but personally I would say that South Korea is a very worthy exception. I hear very positive feedback from nearly every area of European industry. I am thinking of mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, electrical engineering, chemicals and numerous service industries. I have never before come across an example where positive feedback about trade negotiations has been forthcoming from the agricultural sector. That is certainly a novelty – something that I think virtually none of us have encountered before. The results are clearly positive, even if many sectors would have liked more to have been achieved. There is one exception, though, namely vehicle construction. Even here, however, it is not the whole industry but just a few manufacturers who are critical of the agreement. Other manufacturers, and many suppliers in particular, are very positively disposed towards the agreement in its current form. I think it would be good if we were to seize the opportunity to tackle some of the points of criticism in this industry and perhaps still iron out some of the detrimental consequences of the free trade agreement through details here or there. I am thinking, in this regard, of key areas such as the Capital Region Act Seoul, of standards for on-board diagnostics, of environmental standards, the duty drawback protection clause, etc. We should avoid misunderstandings here or, better still, clear them up completely and, above all, press the South Koreans so that the undertakings that they have given us really are realised. Clear monitoring of potential new non-tariff barriers to trade would certainly make sense. I hope that the agreement enters into force very soon and that the consumers and workers of the European Union are able to benefit from it very quickly. Thank you very much, and I wish you much continued success in the home straight."@en1

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