IA Commentary 3

Economics Commentary Number: 3
Title of extract: European Union and South Korea Sign Free Trade Agreement
Source of extract: International centre for trade and sustainable development. (2010). 14(35), Retrieved from http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/86983
Date of extract: November 4th, 2010
Word Count: 738
Date the commentary was written: November 8th, 2010
Sections of the syllabus to which the commentary relates: Section 4
Section: 4
Candidate Name: Sang Keun Kim
Candidate Number:

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development(ICTSD) reported that the European Union and South Korea signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on October 6th, 2010. Free trade agreement is an agreement to form a type of trade bloc between two or more countries to eliminate protectionism barriers such as tariffs and quotas. Tariff is a taxation imposed on any product when it is imported into a country. Also, quotas are limitation set on the number of imported good allowed in the country. In this commentary, the focus will be on the Korean side of the market, not the European market.

ICTSD reports that the FTA agreement will free almost all of the trade and eliminate 99% of European tariffs and 96% of Korean tariffs on imported goods. This elimination of tariffs will help markets between EU and Korea to eliminate dead weight loss, which is a cost caused by economic inefficiency.

By initiating free trade, EU and Korean markets will be able to get rid of the deadweight loss from the tariffs. Deadweight losses are costs that are caused by inefficient industries spending their resources inefficiently, and these costs are often passed on to the consumers. As EU and Korea initiate FTA, the prices of products will decrease from P(tariff) to P(world). Subsequently, the deadweight losses caused by inefficient industries are eliminated, getting rid of the burden off the consumers’ hands.

As EU and Korea get rid of the tariffs, there will be benefits for the consumers for several reasons. According to ICTSD, the Europeans will gain in chemicals, pharmaceutical, electronics, alcoholic beverages, and agricultural sectors. In other words, this means that the Europeans are efficient in these sectors and they have the ability to supply at the price of P(world), which is way cheaper compared to how Korean industries are supplying at P(domestic). Therefore, the Korean consumers benefit from a fall in price from P(domestic) to P(world) in these sectors. Also, the quantity demanded from the Korean consumers will increase from Q1 to Q2 due to its decreased price. So the consumers who could not buy the products from Q1 to Q2 now benefit from the EU-Korea FTA by the decrease in the price of the products. However, this will be especially bad for the Korean industries in these sectors. As it is illustrated in the diagram, their share of the market decreases from Q(domestic) to Q1 due to the EU-Korea FTA.

The efficient industries compared to other countries’ industries will benefit from gain in the share of other countries’ market by the FTA. These industries are most likely that they will not be badly affected by the FTA and will not lose any of the market shares within the domestic market. In the point of view of European industries in chemicals, pharmaceutical, electronics, alcoholic beverages, and agricultural sectors, these industries will not lose any of the market shares from the Korean industries in these sectors due to their competitiveness and efficiency. To illustrate, the Korean industries in these sectors will not be able to take away the European market due to its high price of P(world) compared to European industries’ price of P(domestic). Therefore, the supply curve will be above the equilibrium point and the Korean products in these sectors will not be appealing to the European consumers.

On the other hand, the Korean industries in automobiles, ships, and mobile communications sectors, they will not lose any of the market share from the European industries because of their cheap price of P(domestic) compared to P(world) of European industries.

In conclusion, the EU-Korea FTA will have a great impact and significance to both economies. There would be a losses and wins from both sides. However, the FTA is worth a try due to the elimination of deadweight losses caused by inefficient industries that are causing great burden on consumers. The elimination of deadweight losses mean the elimination of the inefficiency, and this will bolster the industries to be efficient as possible. Thus, this will benefit not only the consumers but also the industries because it will help them to be competitive in the global market. Increase in the competitiveness and efficiency will help the industries to export their goods and gain profit like how the other efficient foreign industries did. Also, the increase in the trade will greatly contribute to subside the ever-rising unemployment rate, which is troubling both the sides.

Word Count: [738 words]


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