FTA concerns groundlessSohn Hak-kyu, the chairman of the United New Democratic Party, said he fully agreed that it would be good if a free trade agreement with the United States is approved by the National Assembly as soon as possible.
But he talked about two things. First, he worried about how to compensate damage from the trade deal, and second, if it is proper for the Korean legislature to approve the agreement before the U.S. Congress does.
But his worries are groundless. The Korean government has drawn up a variety of measures to compensate damage from the trade accord. Considering that Korea has legislative elections in April and the United States has its presidential election in November, it is best if Korea’s National Assembly approves the trade agreement first because the United States will then feel pressure to act.
We believe that the bilateral trade agreement between Korea and the United States was a balanced deal. In the United States, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the two strongest contenders for the next presidency, disapprove of legislative approval of the free trade agreement with Korea.
This shows that the deal was not particularly advantageous to the United States.
President George W. Bush has also not submitted a bill for approval, even after a free trade agreement between Chile and the United States was approved.
Therefore, it is regrettable that Korea’s National Assembly is hesitating to make a decision. People wonder if politicians hesitate because they are more concerned about losing votes from farmers in the April legislative elections.
The free trade agreement between Korea and the United States is one of the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s best achievements. President Roh has said he hoped the free trade accord with Washington would be approved before his term was over.
It would be good manners to give approval to the deal before this administration leaves office. Before the new administration is launched, the atmosphere for an economic jump-start is being created and companies promise to increase investment. The free trade agreement with Washington is the best possible resource to keep the momentum going. For this matter, we need to resume U.S. beef imports as soon as possible.
The political arena of making excuses must end. In February, a special session of the National Assembly must pass the free trade agreement with Washington.