06 OCT 2010
(CNN) -- South Korea and the European Union will sign a new free trade agreement Wednesday, eliminating or cutting tariffs on nearly all goods within the next several years.
The pact between South Korea and the 27-member economic bloc is to take effect starting in July 2011.
The agreement is to be signed in Brussels, Belgium, during the fifth European Union-Republic of Korea Summit. The gathering is happening back-to-back with the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels.
"The agreement requires the two parties to eliminate 98.7 percent of duties in trade value for both industry and agriculture within five years, and to eliminate remaining tariffs almost fully over longer periods," the European Union said in a news release.
Italian automakers had resisted the trade pact, fearing that their industry would be overtaken by cheaper Korean imports.
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