Don’t let politics ruin FTA

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Don’t let politics ruin FTA

Some Korean politicians are throwing cold water on the last stage negotiations for a South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement. Although the talks produced no outcome yet, some politicians claim that the legislature should reject ratification of the accord. Others even said the negotiations should be stopped and the next administration should deal with it.
On Friday, 38 legislators issued a statement and demanded that the talks be stopped, claiming that the negotiation is damaging national interests. Kim Geun-tae, former Uri Party chairman, made public his objection to the free trade agreement, making it his first priority for the presidential race.
“If Han Duck-soo continues to show his support for the free trade agreement, I will object to approval of him as the prime minister,” Mr. Kim said, adding that the signing and ratification of the accord should be handed over to the next administration. Chung Dong-young, former Uri Party chairman, also said the negotiations are progressing unfairly, so there is no reason to close the deal before the end of the deadline. It is embarrassing to say that the statements were from the former leaders of this nation’s governing political party.
We want to ask the politicians what their grounds are for claiming that the agreement is “damaging to the national interest.” We want them to explain their logic in detail to the people. Instead of claiming that the negotiations are unfair without providing substantial reasons, they should get a full grip on the negotiations and compare the gains and losses before making public their opposition.
Many countries around the world are signing free trade agreements competitively to seek development ― how can Korea possibly survive by insisting on shutting its door? Their claim that the negotiations are unfair only show their ignorance and indifference to how the negotiations have been progressing until now.
They must find out what will happen if the deadline expires and if it is possible for the next administration to continue negotiation. They must learn quickly how they will take responsibility if there is never again an opportunity for a free trade agreement with the United States. After researching that information, they can talk about stopping negotiations.
Based on hasty assessment and the argument of some people opposed to the market opening, politicians are objecting to the free trade agreement. Their populist politics are what we should watch out for.
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