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[Editorial] FTA With U.S. Needs Ratification Before Roh Leaves Office

[Editorial] FTA With U.S. Needs Ratification Before Roh Leaves Office

Posted December. 31, 2007 05:29,   


With the election now over, numerous national agendas remain before us. Ratification of the free trade agreement with the United States constitutes one of the most urgent issues.

After meeting President-elect Lee Myung-bak recently, President Roh said, “I wish I could pass the FTA before I leave office.” Lee replied, “I will persuade my party members to assist.” We are looking forward to their joint efforts. We need to have the treaty ratified during the upcoming February congressional session.

Ratification of the agreement may be the last, but not the least duty we expect our 17th legislative body to complete. Lawmakers must know why the two governments pushed for a free trade agreement. The Korean legislature formed a special committee to monitor each and every move of the negotiations. If this Congress dumps the passage onto the next 18th Congress, we will not tolerate it.

Korean voters gave a cold shoulder to presidential candidates who argued against the agreement, citing the need to defend our farmers. Instead, Koreans chose Lee Myung-bak by a landslide margin, who has advocated the treaty to resuscitate the ailing national economy. Contrary to what liberals and socialists argue, Koreans know that free trade between Korea and America will serve as a lynchpin for the world’s 11th largest Korean economy to advance globally.

The treaty will help the two countries offer easier access to their markets and lower barriers to each other. The whole negotiation process was carried out in a transparent way with the equal bargaining power. Now, China and Japan envy the new economic relationship between South Korea and the Untied States. Of course, there are some shortcomings concerning restructuring and unequal competition. But they are minor ones and we can fix them as we move on.

The two houses of the U.S. Congress passed a free trade agreement with Peru recently by a huge margin, signaling a positive message to us. Still, a significant number of U.S. lawmakers oppose it, and American society is consumed by the upcoming presidential election next year. Thus, chances of FTA passage through the U.S. Congress are not guaranteed. To win over FTA opponents in the Untied States, we have to move first and ratify the treaty.