DP head insists on redoing FTA

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DP head insists on redoing FTA

Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties clashed over the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement at a Blue House luncheon yesterday, with Representative Sohn Hak-kyu, chairman of the Democratic Party, insisting on renegotiations and revisions.

President Lee Myung-bak invited Sohn, Grand National Party Chairman Hong Joon-pyo and five other top government officials to the Blue House to brief them on last week’s state visit to the United States.

The prime minister, speaker of the National Assembly, chief justices of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and the head of the National Election Commission also attended.

Lee urged the leaders to pass the FTA swiftly in the National Assembly in light of the pact’s relatively quick ratification by the U.S. Congress.

“The world is envious of the Congressional passage of the FTA, and it would be a great benefit to us amidst the economic crisis,” Lee said. “The ruling and opposition parties can win the public’s trust by approving it in the interest of the country.”

Sohn, however, made clear his opposition to the deal as it is. In July, the DP presented what it called a “10 plus 2” proposal - 10 points to be renegotiated and two compensation measures for manufacturers and service industries for losses in the future.

Representative Lee Yong-sup, spokesman for the DP, said that Sohn gave a presentation at the luncheon based on the DP’s five-page position on the FTA.

While Sohn congratulated the president for receiving an enthusiastic welcome from the Obama administration and Congress, he said the alliance between Korea and the U.S. should be based on mutual benefits, the DP spokesman said.

“Although the DP supports a free trade policy, we oppose an FTA that is unbalanced, lacks compensation measures and only favors the rich,” Sohn was quoted as saying.

The DP spokesman said that his party’s chairman warned the Lee administration and the GNP against using their National Assembly majority to ratify the FTA without the endorsement of opposition lawmakers.

“If they railroad it, it will be recorded as another example of infringing on democracy,” the spokesman said.

The Grand Nationals currently hold 168 seats in the 295-member National Assembly, enough to approve the FTA on their own.

The political stakes of using the force of majority, however, are high because of the likelihood of a violent melee in the National Assembly.

The Blue House confirmed yesterday that Sohn had made clear his opposition.

According to Choe Geum-nak, senior secretary to the president for public relations, the DP chairman demanded renegotiations and urged the ruling party to refrain from railroading the pact through the National Assembly.

Hong, however, rebutted Sohn’s demands. “Hong said many of the DP’s demands were about clauses that were agreed to during the Roh Moo-hyun administration,” Choe said.

“The auto industry also has no problem with the automobile safeguards, which are opposed by the DP. The ball is now in the National Assembly’s court, and we should handle this smoothly.”

First initiated by the Roh administration and the ruling Uri Party, the predecessor to the DP, the FTA was concluded in 2007 but renegotiated at the end of last year to reflect concerns in both countries.

At the time, Seoul conceded on terms governing the auto industry, while Washington yielded on pork.

The FTA is currently pending in the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee. Yesterday, the committee debated the pact by inviting a trade official and experts who support and oppose the deal.

The discussion, however, broke up in the middle, as the two sides confronted each other and failed to come to a conclusion.

The Grand Nationals have said that they want the pact approved before the end of this month.


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


President Lee Myung-bak, third from left, discusses his recent state visit to the United States at a Blue House luncheon yesterday. From left: Democratic Party Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu, National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae, Lee and Grand National Party Chairman Hong Joon-pyo. [NEWSIS]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

MB “한·미 FTA, 전 세계가 부러워해” … 손학규 ‘FTA 불가론’ 10분 넘게 낭독

청와대 오찬 간담회서 충돌

한·미 자유무역협정(FTA) 비준을 놓고 이명박 대통령과 민주당 손학규 대표가 충돌했다. 17일 청와대 상춘재에서 열린 이 대통령과 여야 대표 및 5부 요인 오찬 간담회에서 이 대통령이 한·미 FTA의 신속한 국회 비준을 요청하자 손 대표는 “지금 이대로의 한·미 FTA는 받아들일 수 없다”며 반대 입장을 분명히 밝혔다.

 이 대통령은 1시간5분 동안 진행된 간담회에서 “한·미 FTA가 미국 의회를 통과한 데 대해 전 세계가 부러워하고 있다”며 “경제가 어려워진 상황에서 우리에게도 큰 득이 될 것”이라고 말했다. 그러면서 “여야가 국가를 위해 할 것은 해야 국민의 신뢰를 얻을 수 있을 것”이라고 말했다고 최금락 청와대 홍보수석이 전했다.

 이 대통령은 미국 국빈방문 기간 미 의회가 초당적으로 협력해 한·미 FTA를 전례 없이 신속하게 처리한 과정을 자세히 설명한 뒤 우리 국회에서도 잘 처리해줄 것을 당부했다.

손 대표는 미리 준비해간 A4 용지 5쪽 분량의 ‘한·미 FTA 국회 비준과 관련한 민주당의 입장’이란 자료를 10분 넘게 낭독했다고 한다. 손 대표는 “국빈방문에서 미국 정부와 의회의 환대를 받은 데 대해 국민의 한 사람으로서 축하해 마지않지만 우리가 마음속 깊이 새겨야 할 것은 한·미의 튼튼한 우호관계는 양 국민의 상호이익에 근거해야 한다는 점”이라고 말했다. 그러면서 ‘한·미 FTA 4대 불가론’을 언급했다.

 손 대표는 “민주당은 손해 보는 FTA, 준비 안 된 FTA, 부자 중심의 FTA, 주권 침해 FTA를 반대한다”고 했다.

 이에 대해 한나라당 홍준표 대표는 “민주당의 재재협상 요구 중 상당 부분은 노무현 정부 때 합의된 것”이라며 “공이 국회로 넘어온 만큼 국회에서 잘 처리해야 할 것”이라고 강조했다고 최 수석은 밝혔다. 청와대 오찬 간담회를 통해 여야의 입장이 다시 한번 극명하게 갈리면서 한·미 FTA 비준안이 여야 합의로 처리될 가능성은 더욱 낮아졌다는 관측이 나온다.

한나라당은 18일 국회 외교통상통일위와 28일 국회 본회의에서 비준안을 통과시킨다는 방침이지만 민주당 등 야권은 여당이 단독 처리를 시도할 경우 물리력을 써서라도 저지하겠다는 입장이다.

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