Go to contents

“Don’t Exaggerate FTA Damages” Warns Roh

Posted April. 07, 2007 07:54,   


It was reported on April 6 that President Roh Moo-hyun severely criticized some ministers in the middle of a Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement workshop held in Cheong Wa Dae on April 3.

With about 140 figures, including ministers and vice ministers, as well as those involved in national policy affairs, in attendance, the workshop included President Roh’s opening remarks, followed by Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong’s briefing on the negotiation outcomes, and policy briefings by seven ministries and agencies. Reportedly, President Roh was particularly offended by the policy briefing of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Kim Sung-jin, minister of Maritime Affairs, reported, “There are concerns over the possible enormous damage to the business of Alaska pollack and brown croaker fishermen due to the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.” President Roh immediately asked, “How many fishermen live on Alaskan pollack?” and Minister Kim said, “900.”

Hearing that, President Roh castigated him, saying, “How can you report that the FTA’s enormous damages will deal a great blow to the fishing industry based on your expectations that 900 people will be hurt?”

Some of those around the workshop venue even said that President Roh banged the desk, storming at Minister Kim and others, and left the site in the middle of the session even without participating in the scheduled debate.

The Senior Secretary for Public Information and presidential spokesman Yoon Seung-yong said on April 6, “There were some occasions where President Roh asked for numbers, and some ministers who did not prepare them were at a loss,” adding, “But President Roh was not that angry nor did bang the desk.”

Roh’s spokesman Yoon explained, “As the briefing took longer than expected and President Roh had another appointment, he left early, and the remaining attendees continued on with the debate for about 30 minutes more.”