In a joint statement made during the 11th EU-Korea Trade Committee meeting, both parties announced the commencement of negotiations for a digital trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Korea. This milestone decision aims to establish a legal framework that ensures certainty for businesses and consumers engaged in digital trade, enhances their protection in digital transactions, and promotes an open, fair, and unrestricted online environment.
The EU and Korea have maintained a strong and enduring economic relationship, solidified since 2011 by the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement. With the launch of these negotiations, their intention is to expand this partnership into the digital sphere. This demonstrates their unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of developments in the digital economy, countering digital protectionism, and taking a leading role in shaping digital trade regulations that are forward-looking and adaptable to innovation and emerging technologies.
Building upon the cooperative spirit and alignment showcased by their Digital Trade Principles, the EU and Korea are committed to negotiating an ambitious and contemporary digital trade agreement. This agreement aims to contribute to the digital transformation of their societies, align with the rapidly evolving nature of the digital economy, and complement their existing preferential trade framework.
Both parties recognize the fundamental role of digital trade in their societies' digital and environmentally sustainable transitions. Beyond deepening trade relations, it is seen as a driver of job creation, enabling businesses, particularly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, to actively participate in the global economy. Moreover, it is expected to respond to the evolving needs of online consumers and foster innovation.
The envisioned digital trade rules seek to instill consumer trust, ensure predictability and legal certainty for businesses, remove and prevent unjustified barriers to digital trade, and encourage cooperation. Simultaneously, these rules will enable the development and implementation of policies that can address the new challenges posed by the digital economy.
This groundbreaking initiative sets the stage for international trade agreements in the digital era, reflecting the EU and Korea's commitment to leading global economic advancements. As negotiations progress, international observers will closely watch how this agreement shapes the future of digital trade and international economic partnerships.