Approve trade deal now, U.S.

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Approve trade deal now, U.S.

We have time after time called for the need to effectuate the Free Trade Agreement between Korea and the United States as early as possible. The trade pact is a win-win for the two economies. We did not agree when President Barak Obama hinted at the need for renegotiation during his visit to Korea in November.

If the automotive sector is revisited, we inevitably would have to raise the beef import issue and then the talks could further stagnate and possibly collapse.

Edwin Feulner, president of the well-known conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, made a similar comment. In an interview with a local media outlet, he said the U.S.-Korea FTA should be ratified as soon as possible and urged President Obama to take the lead. He expressed hope that President Obama will have the will to act quickly and strongly to support the U.S.-Korea FTA during his State of the Union address in January.

He pointed out that the current terms produced through negotiations that ended in 2007 were well-balanced for the two countries. He disagreed with Washington’s idea of reviewing the automobile sector due to pressure from America’s troubled auto industry.

We hope President Obama will heed the Washington, D.C.-based think tank’s advice. The Korea-U.S. free trade deal will not only benefit the two countries economically, but bring them even closer together.

Feulner worried that the U.S. would find itself in a more disadvantageous position if Korea moves closer to signing a free trade pact with China before signing an agreement with the U.S. The U.S. would not want Korea to move economically closer to China, given the latter’s growing influence in Asia. But if the U.S. continues to sidestep a trade deal with Korea, it may inevitably find itself estranged from East Asia.

Opposition from the American auto industry, labor unions and politicians has bogged the deal down in Congress for nearly three years. President Obama should not give into the protectionist demands. He has shown undaunted leadership in pushing forward an expansive health care reform. We hope he will exert the same bold leadership on the trade front.
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