[EDITORIALS]Disgrace for the AssemblyThe apathy and irresponsibility of the National Assembly seem never ending. The actions shown by lawmakers over the ratification of the Korea-Chile Free Trade Agreement can be called disgraceful. No matter what happens to the country, or if the economy is ruined, their only concern is gaining votes in the next election.
The government wasted a whole year over this issue and now the legislature is obsessed with its selfish gains and ignorant of the national interest. The future of this nation looks bleak.
The ratification of the agreement is a symbolic act that makes Korea’s willingness for free trade clear to the outside world. Our economy cannot survive without foreign markets, and opening up our market is not a choice but a necessity.
If this agreement is put in effect, we will see a $400 million improvement in our trade balance. Even though they know this, some lawmakers who side with farmers’ groups have wasted many months, and sought to have a secret ballot for the ratification, a critical policy issue, for the first time in National Assembly history.
If they intended to hide because they were afraid of protests from farmers’ groups, would they use illegal means if, in future cases, an issue that is sensitive to a particular interest group is put on the table? Some lawmakers even organized a group to block the passage of the bill in the Assembly. The lawmakers on the Agriculture and Fisheries Committee were also a spectacle to behold. Even if the bill had passed the Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, they did not bring the implementation rules of the agreement up for discussion, saying, “We have to persuade the farmers more.”
What have they done in the past few months to persuade the farmers? Now they are trying to show they are doing something for the farmers, which only amounts to political showmanship. They must stop this now and pass the bill. After the trade pact is approved, the National Assembly must come up with support measures for the agricultural community.