Dealers selling South Korea-made cars have been warned if sales become excessive, punishing import duties may make them too expensive for average consumers.
The European Parliament has to ratify a trade deal struck last year lowering tariffs for commerce between the EU and South Korea and is worried an influx of South Korean car imports could harm European manufacturers.
Its international trade committee has now approved draft legislation implementing safeguards allowing carmakers and governments to demand a European Commission inquiry should there be an import boom.
If officials decide this could cause EU carmakers “serious injury”, immediate protective duties would be imposed or planned tariff reductions halted.
“In critical circumstances, where a delay would cause irreparable damage, it would be possible to take urgent provisional measures,” said the committee.
The plan has wide support and should become a condition of a planned ratification vote this autumn.