GNP, Blue House stress urgency of passing FTA

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GNP, Blue House stress urgency of passing FTA

The ruling Grand National Party and the Blue House increasingly raised their voices yesterday to stress that Korea’s legislature should approve the long-pending Korea-U.S. free trade agreement before August.

“Those who oppose the Korea-U.S. FTA are the main culprits behind the failing livelihood economy,” GNP Representative Cha Myung-jin said yesterday at the party’s emergency council meeting. “The motion to ratify the FTA is a true effort to revive the livelihood economy.”

He also said the FTA with the United States will increase jobs and raise resources for welfare programs. “The automotive industry even welcomed it,” he said. “If we insist on renegotiations over and over again, it may get approved when the era of automobiles is over.”

In two separate interviews with Yonhap News Agency, other senior GNP officials also stressed the need to ratify the trade agreement with the United States within months.

“The U.S. Congress is expected to approve it before August,” said the GNP’s new floor leader, Hwang Woo-yea. “It is desirable for us to ratify it around the same time. Approving the FTA is an urgent task.”

He also promised that opposition parties will get enough opportunities to discuss the issue with the ruling party and the government. The Democratic Party and its newly elected floor leader Kim Jin-pyo have demanded that the deal should be renegotiated to improve Korea’s interest.

“If the situation has loose ends, we will continue to see problems. So the government will have to negotiate with the opposition parties as seriously as it has done with the United States and will have to persuade the ruling party as well.”

GNP Representative Nam Kyung-pil, head of the National Assembly’s Foreign, Trade and Unification Affairs Committee, also told Yonhap that the motion to ratify the FTA is expected to be submitted to his committee at the end of June or early July.

“This is something that is linked with the moves in the U.S. Congress,” he said, adding that the U.S. congressional session will end at the end of July.

“The Democrats won’t be able to physically block it, since the Korea-U.S. FTA is supported by the people,” Nam said. “The DP said the FTA, initially signed by the Roh Moo-hyun administration, was balanced but the Lee Myung-bak administration’s renegotiation had put Korea’s automobile industry at a disadvantage. But the Korean auto industry has welcomed the FTA.” The agreement was originally signed in 2007 between the two past administrations of Korea and the United States.


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

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