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Preferential Tariff Imposed on Products Made in Gaesong Complex

Preferential Tariff Imposed on Products Made in Gaesong Complex

Posted April. 05, 2007 08:02,   

한국어

On April 4, members of the unification, foreign affairs and trade committee at the National Assembly convened to listen to the FTA result with the U.S. They closely inquired about the treatment of goods produced at the Gaesong Industrial Complex and the possibility of renegotiating U.S.-Korea FTA.

In Agriculture, Forestry, Maritime, Affairs and Fisheries committee meeting, which was held to report the negotiation results, most lawmakers criticized the result, saying that, “The government has conceded everything.”

Kim Hyung-chong, Korea’s trade minister, said, “Both nations have decided to make a committee to deal with the issue of offshore production. This could be understood that the U.S. recognizes the concept of offshore production regarding the Gaesong industry complex.” He explained, “The committee will only decide when, on what terms, to which region the concept will be applied.

Mr. Kim said, “An additional annex has been adopted, which recognizes the act of granting preferential tariffs in principle through appointing certain offshore process blocks, and a committee meeting will be held one year after the agreement comes into effect.”

Regarding the possibility of renegotiations that could be initiated by the U.S Congress, he said, “Once the agreement is settled, there should be no renegotiation, and we delivered our position against renegotiation,” he said.

To the question about measures for the agriculture sector raised by Rep. Kim Yong-gap from the Grand National Party, he answered, “During the whole process of the negotiations, I felt really bad thinking about farmers. I fully agree that revolutionary measures are needed for them. In that sense, I am going to persuade President Roh in cooperation with the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Nonpartisan lawmaker Choi Jae-chun asked, “Is it true that the government has made an agreement on six provisions which might threaten the public’s health, including non-safety checkups and exemptions from import admission procedures when Living Modified Organisms (LMO) are imported?”

“As far as I know, those issues have been separately agreed to, and a separate agreement will be framed by relevant ministries. We estimate that five items will have no problems, but we will continue to discuss the last remaining provision, because the provision has a precondition that Korea joins the Convention on Biological Diversity,” Kim said in answer to the question.

Regarding an FTA with other nations, the minister announced, “We will soon begin negotiations with the EU, and when it comes to negotiations with the EU, we will use a strategy that makes allies from a distant country and then enter the markets of neighboring countries. In that sense, we will start off by taking distant markets and then deal with China and Japan.”

He added, “We started joint research with China last month. When it’s over at the end of this year, we will appraise the result and decide if we want an FTA with China.” Regarding Japan, he said, “Though we have been negotiating with Japan for about a year, Japan has suggested that it will open only 56 percent of its agriculture and marine product market, and that is far less than its earlier promise to open 90 percent of the market. Under such circumstances, we cannot make a deal with Japan unless they offer something better.”