In recent years, Korea has achieved considerable economic growth accompanied by potential business opportunities for international companies. The European Union has been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) aiming at increased trade and business relations. Hence, the Korean business system and its foundations in societal characteristics need to be taken into account by European political and economic actors. This study identifies those characteristics and explores their linkages as perceived by European companies. In addition, their assessment of the FTA''s impact on characteristics of the Korean business system and on their business activities are explored. This research is based on the socio-economic approach of business systems theories. Hence, this study should provide insights into interrelations between particular characteristics of the Korean business system and help international market managers, CEOs and anyone else interested in the Korean market to identify potential challenges and business opportunities.