Senators sanguine about U.S. ratification of FTA

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Senators sanguine about U.S. ratification of FTA


Five U.S. senators, including Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, second from right, make visiting President Lee Myung-bak, center, yesterday. [YONHAP]

Six U.S. senators visiting Korea expressed confidence about the ratification by the U.S.Congress of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, government sources told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.

According to the sources, the six senators, including Jim Webb and Mitch McConnell, said in a meeting with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Monday that the ratification of the pact won’t be delayed because most stumbling blocks within the Congress have been overcome.

The U.S. Congress is ready to ratify the Korus FTA, one of the senators said to Kim, the sources said.

McConnell, the Senate minority leader, and four other Republican Senators, also expressed their support for the Korus pact when the five paid a courtesy call on President Lee Myung-bak yesterday, the sources said.

Democrat Senator Webb did not attend the luncheon meeting. The other Republican Senators were Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Jerry Moran of Kansas.

The Korus FTA was revised last December to address Capitol Hill’s concerns over automobile and beef trading issues.

But no substantial progress has been made since then because of opposition from some lawmakers who want to combine the Korea deal with two other pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama.

The Blue House said in a statement that President Lee requested help in getting U.S. Congress approval when meeting the five senators yesterday, emphasizing its positive influence on the Seoul-Washington alliance.

McConnell, while expressing support, also called for efforts on the Korean side to approve the agreement, it said.

McConnell and Webb, a Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, have been vocal advocates of early ratification of the pact.

By Kang Chan-ho, Moon Gwang-lip []

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

“한· 미 FTA 비준 미 의회 준비돼 있다”

미 의원 6명, 청와대 방문

서울을 찾은 미 상원의원 6명이 “미 의회는 한·미 자유무역협정(FTA)을 비준할 준비가 돼 있다”며 조기 비준 의지를 내비쳤다고 정부 소식통들이 19일 전했다. 이들에 따르면 짐 웹(Jim Webb) 미 상원 외교위원회 동아태소위원장(민주당·버지니아)과 미치 매코널(Mitch McConnell) 상원 공화당 원내대표를 비롯한 공화당 소속 상원의원 5명은 18일 김성환 외교통상부 장관과의 면담·만찬에서 “미국 내에서 한·미 FTA 비준을 방해해온 걸림돌들이 거의 사라져 비준 시점이 빨라지게 될 것”이라며 이같이 말했다. 매코널 대표 등 공화당 상원의원 5명은 19일 이명박 대통령과의 청와대 오찬에서도 “한·미 FTA를 지지한다. 한국 측 비준 절차도 원활히 진행되길 희망한다”고 말했다.

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