Trade pact with U.S. to take effect March 15On March 15, the free trade agreement between Korea and the U.S. will go into effect.
“The two countries agreed to carry out the Korea-U.S. FTA on March 15 as they completed the last-minute check-up process in their fifth meeting by 8 p.m., local time, in the U.S.,” said Bark Tae-ho, trade minister, yesterday.
The National Assembly approved the free trade pact in November of last year despite vehement protests from opposition lawmakers.
The deal was signed in June 2007 and approved by the U.S. Congress in October 2011. The two countries have been working to finalize a date for the implementation of the accord.
The free trade accord, known as the Korus FTA, was supplemented in late 2010 with minor modifications that mostly dealt with the auto industry.
The trade minister once again stressed the significance of the free trade agreement with the U.S.
“The free trade agreement is essential to our economy,” the trade minister said.
“As it is well-known that exports to Europe recently were hit hard by the fiscal crisis in the region and with the free trade agreement with the U.S., our exports ranging from textiles, clothing and steel to machinery, petrochemicals and electronic goods, as well as automobiles, will expand.”
He said that the free trade agreement will contribute to revitalizing the economy by creating jobs for the young generation.
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the free trade agreement with the U.S. will not only increase the nation’s GDP by 5.66 percent but also create jobs for 350,000 people while increasing the nation’s exports to the U.S. by nearly $1.3 billion on average every year, while manufacturing production, as a result, will grow by 8.8 trillion won ($7.8 billion) on average.
The report predicted Korea will see its trade surplus with the U.S. increase by $140 million annually over the next 15 years after the FTA goes into effect.
The nation’s total global trade surplus will expand by an annual average of $2.77 billion, the report forecast.
By Lee Ho-jeong, Song Su-hyun [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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