DP criticizes FTA with U.S.

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DP criticizes FTA with U.S.

As the Democratic Party made moves to demand a renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, the Grand National Party yesterday denounced the attempt.

At a meeting of the party’s senior leaders, Democratic Party Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu said the party may form a new special committee to deliberate on the free trade deals in response to changed conditions.

“The Korea-EU free trade agreement was signed hastily with the G-20 Summit in mind,” Sohn said. “Korea made a concession on the most controversial issue of the customs refund system.

“The situation is the same for the Korea-U.S. FTA,” Sohn added. “The United States demands a renegotiation, pointing out automobile and beef issues. The DP lawmakers also want a renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. FTA.”

Under his leadership, the Democratic Party’s goal will be to review Korea’s biggest FTAs with the view to promote the national interest, protect vulnerable industries and support the public welfare, Sohn said. “If necessary, we will form a new special committee to deeply review the FTAs.”

It was the first time that Sohn, as the DP’s new chairman, spoke about the party’s position on the Korea-U.S. free trade deal. The agreement was concluded in April 2007 and signed by Seoul and Washington two months later. While it needs to be ratified by the two countries’ legislatures, President Lee Myung-bak and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama directed their governments in June to remove obstacles by November.

A group of 32 lawmakers from opposition parties issued a joint statement, urging the renegotiation of the free trade pact.

The Grand National Party criticized the Democrats by saying they were turning their back on one of the biggest legacies of President Roh Moo-hyun. “The Korea-U.S. FTA was one of the few constructive economic outcomes left by Roh,” said the GNP.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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