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[Editorial] Seriously, It Is Time to Ratify the FTA

Posted February. 15, 2004 23:29,   


Today, the National Assembly will try a fourth vote on ratification of the Korea-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Five economic associations and 104 diplomatic officials, who are tired of damage caused by the delayed ratification and subsequent scorn by the world, are appealing to the people for immediate ratification of the FTA.

If we fail to ratify FTA again, there could be no chance ever. The 16th National Assembly, which failed to ratify the FTA four times, does not look like it is going to ratify it at this time, when the general election on April is so near at hand. Besides, it will be quite hard for the 17th National Assembly to handle this task, since most candidates for agricultural districts are likely to pledge themselves against ratifying the FTA. We might lose our chance to discuss it, since other current issues, such as re-negotiation regarding the rice-market opening, could edge out the FTA matter.

The FTA matter has already crossed the line, which is just in regards to whether we would sell our goods for more or for less in Chile. If we fail to ratify again, Korea would be branded as the country that nobody can trust, even the President, and it is hard to cooperate with other countries through opening the door. As a result of this case’s successive harmful effect on the second and third FTA, we might be a loser in other trade relations.

Some “agriculture-party” congressmen maintain that the counter plan for farm households, which will be damaged by the FTA, is not enough. It is unreasonable, however. The compensation for direct damages by the FTA is rather excessive. Further, in case this kind of excessive compensation becomes routine, it would be better to give up the opening-market policy, concerning the financial overburden.

Ahead of calculating votes from farmers, each party should know that the large mass of the people are getting angry over them, averting their eyes from national interests. Voters will watch which view each party will choose and how well the guidance division’s action will be in keeping with its promise, and they will judge.