Trade minister says FTA will go into effect by February

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Trade minister says FTA will go into effect by February

Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said yesterday that the Korea-United States free trade agreement “will take effect sometime in February at the latest.” He told reporters at a press conference that “pushing the deal to go into effect from Jan. 1 is physically impossible.”

His comments came as Korea’s National Assembly ratified the related bill last month despite fierce opposition from liberal parties. Kim also said that “above all, the agreement will create jobs as there will be more foreign investment in Korea, which will lead to employment.” In the meantime, Kim also touched upon the Korea-Japan FTA issue. He said the big obstacle in getting through the deal remains the auto industry. “What’s more of a matter than the tariff issue is that Korean cars in Japan are difficult to sell,” he said, noting that it will be hard to negotiate related terms so that they benefit the Korean auto industry.

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