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New strategies prepared for next month`s FTA talks with US

New strategies prepared for next month`s FTA talks with US

Posted November. 18, 2010 13:21,   


Korea will prepare new strategies before resuming free trade talks with the U.S. next month in Washington, a high-ranking official at the Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said Wednesday.

“Further rounds of negotiations will be impossible if we adhere to our current clauses. We are preparing new strategies,” the official said.

The new plan is known to include the protection of Korea’s relatively vulnerable pharmaceuticals and agricultural markets. On pharmaceuticals, Seoul will ask Washington to delay by 18 months a ban on the sale of reproduced American drugs in Korea before the patents expire for the original drugs.

The Korean government will also strengthen safeguard measures for agricultural products.

In addition, adjustment of what Korean opposition parties call “poison pill” clauses is under review. These include the negative list system for services allowing the opening of all service products except those specifically prohibited and a ratchet clause that bars going back to pre-free trade deal days.

Seoul, however, will not exclude the maligned investor-state dispute settlement clause, which allows a private investor to legally challenge a host government`s public policy.

A high-ranking Korean Foreign Ministry official said, “The government believes that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism is not a poison clause but something Korea needs. We won’t cover it in our next round of negotiations.”

Another official said, “We’ll include important items we requested in negotiations in 2007 but left out in the final agreement. We are preparing various cards.”