All FTA rumors proved wrongA year has passed since the historic Korea-U.S. free trade agreement took effect on March 15, 2012. Though ordinary citizens cannot feel the effects yet, the trade deal has brought about some positive effects, albeit not remarkable, to the economy in general. Despite the global economic slowdown, Korean exports to the United States have grown by a small margin, while America’s direct investment in Korea has risen sharply.
In the meantime, our imports from the U.S. have decreased by as much as 10 percent, expanding our trade surplus with the U.S. That means that the opposition’s ridiculous rhetoric and wild rumors about the trade pact’s impact on our economy have simply been proven wrong.
One of the typical rumors about the FTA was the argument that if Korea begins to import U.S. beef from cows aged over 30 months, mad cow disease will be a danger to our citizens. However, no U.S. beef from cows aged over 30 months was imported to our country and not a single Korean has suffered from the disease.
The prediction that the Korus FTA will only fatten large companies in the country while causing small- and medium-sized companies to collapse one after another also proved wrong. Instead, small businesses’ exports to America went up by 3.1 percent, exceeding the country’s total U.S. export growth of 2.7 percent.
The rumor that the Korean agricultural sector would collapse also turned out wrong. Instead, our agricultural exports to the U.S. increased by 7 percent, while American agricultural exports to Korea decreased by 16.8 percent over the last year. In addition, all the wild rumors predicting a breakup of mom-and-pop business in our neighborhood or a surge in utility fees also proved false. With all those allegations exposed as fiction, Koreans are able to see the real picture now.
As the truth was affirmed only a year after the monumental trade accord with the U.S., any more controversy about the effect of the deal is not only meaningless but also a critical waste of national energy. Instead, we should make efforts to find out effective ways to take advantage of the trade pact toward further development of our economy.
Korean people also must no longer be swayed by ill-grounded arguments or inflammatory rhetoric produced and reinforced by political groups with malicious intentions. We have clearly seen what impact those ill-intentioned accusations have: dangerous national division and a colossal waste of national energy. As it turned out, rumors are just rumors.