Eurofer said it is ‘deeply concerned’ by the possible effects of market access conditions of the EU – South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

It feared the new agreement could have an impact on the European automotive market, which is the major customer base of the European steel industry.

It feared a surge of South Korean imports into the EU but with little reciprocity in return.

It feared an increased level of foreign cars would receive duty-free EU market access. This would allow South Korean manufacturers to decrease their costs with parts from neighbouring low-cost countries such as China.

It said the agreement must be seen in the light of the huge European car net import imbalance, with about 400 000 vehicles from Korea compared to about 30 000 from the EU to South Korea in 2009.