EU sets special meeting on South Korea trade deal

September 15, 2010 18:50

BRUSSELS — The European Union has set up a special meeting of foreign ministers to discuss a free trade deal with South Korea, raising hopes the bloc has overcome Italian objections to the pact.

Thursday's meeting will be on the sidelines of an EU summit of government leaders. Italy seeks assurances its embattled auto industry will not be hurt. An EU source said all major stumbling blocs had been removed, making agreement on the multibillion dollar free trade deal likely.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the issue in Rome.

In two meetings over the past week, EU foreign ministers failed to break down Rome's resistance. The EU is now expected to sign off on the deal at a special EU-South Korea summit on Oct. 6.

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