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Business Leaders Back Free Trade Pact

Posted June. 22, 2006 03:06,   


Korean and American business leaders adopted a joint declaration to officially support the FTA negotiations between the two countries.

The Korea-U.S. Business Council held its 19th annual meeting at the Shilla Hotel in Jangchung-dong, Seoul, on June 21 and agreed that entrepreneurs of both countries would give their active support for successful conclusion of the Korea-U.S. FTA.

At the post-meeting press conference, Cho Suk-rae, the Korean chairman of the Korea-U.S. Business Council and concurrent CEO of Hyosung Group said, “The Korea-U.S. FTA will not only boost the trade between the two countries but also will produce other positive results such as increased investment, strengthened technological cooperation, and more active personal exchanges. It will further work as a milestone for hardening the friendly relationship between the two countries.” He added that he will work on reducing the negative public opinions by actively publicizing the positive effects of the FTA.

U.S Chairman of the Business Council and president of Citigroup William Rhodes said that he hoped that the Korea-U.S. FTA was to be successfully concluded so that it could serve as a first step for Korea to become a financial hub of Northeast Asia. He added that the success of the negotiation will boost various sectors of the Korean economy that are facing intense competition with China and Japan.

The head of the Trade Negotiation Headquarter Kim Hyeon-jong, while making a presentation titled, “Results of the First Round Negotiation of the Korea-U.S. FTA and the Future Prospects,” said, “Favorable public opinion toward the FTA will be created if the Koreans can be exempted from the U.S visa obligations.”

Regarding this comment, Rhodes, during the press release, replied, “Including Korea into the visa waver program will have positive effect not only on economic development but also on the tourism and education industries of both countries. I’m pressing the U.S. administration on this issue.”

Thirty-two Koreans, including former Prime Minister Nam Deok-wu, president of Samwhan Corporation Choi Yong-gwon, and chairman of Woori Bank Hwang Yeong-gi participated in the meeting with chairman Cho; and 32 from the U.S., including Steve Van Andel, the chairman of Altico, and Stanley Gale, the chairman of Gale International, participated in addition to Rhodes.

Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com