The European Commission rejected on Monday a French request for close oversight of auto imports from South Korea, saying there was no legal basis for such a move.

"The French request for the introduction of prior surveillance concerning cars from Korea has been refused because the legal conditions were not met," a spokesman for EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.

"Even if imports into the EU of cars from Korea indeed increased over the last months, there was no indication that such an increase was concentrated in France," spokesman John Clancy added.

French Minister for Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, has claimed several times that South Korean manufacturers were dumping their cars on the European market, a practice of selling goods for less than they cost, to garner market share.

In August, France formally asked the European Union to begin monitoring car imports from South Korea in the first step toward a possible re-introduction of tariffs, in a request made under the terms of an EU-South Korea free trade agreement signed in 2010.

The FTA took effect on July 1, 2011, and French officials have said there was a 50% increase in South Korean auto imports in January and February this year.

On Thursday, South Korean Trade Minister Taeho Bark said in an online interview with the French daily Les Echos that he understood Montbour's concerns, but not his arguments.