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FTA delays will be ‘big loss’ to U.S.

Nov 25,2009
While Korea speeds forward with free trade agreements in other regions, including one with the European Union, Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said yesterday that the United States will see a “big loss” if the Korea-U.S. FTA falls victim to parliamentary politics without being ratified.

“It’s [Washington’s] decision to make on how they want to move it forward,” Kim said at a luncheon hosted by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea at the Shilla Hotel in downtown Seoul. “A recent study in the United States showed that the country could lose nearly 350,000 jobs if it doesn’t ratify and implement the deal with Korea. That’s a big loss.”

Kim said that though Washington is now busy with health care reform, the pact should be brought up in Congress early next year.

While delays mount for the U.S. pact, the Korea-EU FTA is expected to serve as a springboard for Europe, helping it secure a foothold here, according to Kim. Last month, after two-and-a-half years of talks, the two sides initialed the FTA, which would liberalize investment and trade while resolving regulatory issues such as intellectual property disputes.

“Korea’s presence in the Asian region is particularly gaining momentum,” Kim said, which could benefit the EU. Korea has concluded trade deals with key Asian countries including India and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, while the recently initialed FTA would be the EU’s first in Asia.

“The business partnership between Korea and the EU will make the best use of Korea’s advantageous position in Asia,” Kim said.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

Kim Jong-hoon




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