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’99 Secret Deal Between Korea and US

Posted July. 26, 2002 22:33,   


A suspicion was raised about the existence of a secret agreement under which US’s agreement is required prior to Korea’s making any policy about medicine.

Congressman Shim Jae-chul of the Grand National Party revealed on July 26 at a committee hearing, “According to the minute of the regular trade talk between Korea and US that was held in April in US, one US representative at the talk was recorded as saying ‘Korea’s introduction of the ATB was made upon the agreement between Korea and US.’ There is a suspicion about the existence of a secret deal with US prior to Korea’s introduction of the ATB in November, 1999.”

Shim also said, “One US official confirmed that agreement may not have been made in writing and the matter in nature requires two countries notify and consult with each other in advance of any change in the drug-price policy. This remark indicates we as a sovereign country waived our sovereignty, which should not have occurred.”

He added, “The US Embassy also confirmed the existence of the ’99 agreement between Korea and US.”

Former Associate Minster of Health and Welfare Lee Kyung-ho, who was at the hearing as a witness, remarked, “Last April I heard the visiting US Associate Secretary of Commerce asked in protest why Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) had violated the ’99 agreement under which the MHW had to obtain the US consent to any change in the policy.”

But former Ministry of Health and Welfare Kim Won-gil reputed, “The ’99 Agreement was not an agreement at all. It was a unilateral request by the US. Acknowledging that there had been no agreement in that nature, the US now uses “understanding” instead of agreement.

Yoon-Jong Yoo jkmas@donga.com