Go to contents

US Split on Ratifying FTA With Korea

Posted January. 30, 2010 09:13,   


The U.S. government and industries are growing more negative over ratifying the free trade agreement with Korea.

U.S. President Barack Obama stressed the importance of expanding American exports by strengthening trade with Korea, Panama and Colombia in his State of the Union address Wednesday while the U.S. Trade Representative said Korea has not sufficiently opened its car market.

Separately, American trade groups and the Republican Party have urged Congress to swiftly ratify the agreement.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told a conference Thursday organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that Korea continues its bad practice of excluding foreign cars in its domestic car market.

Such a legacy is a hindrance and the task is how to overcome auto-related tariff and non-tariff barriers, a pending issue in the agreement, he said.

Stressing that the U.S. needs to find the best way to overcome an unfortunate legacy related to tariff and non-tariff barriers, Marantis said he is confident the U.S. will find solutions through close cooperation with Congress and the Korean government.

“(The Korea-U.S. free trade agreement) is a high-quality agreement in many respects, with groundbreaking provisions on (intellectual property rights), transparency and non-tariff measures,” he said. “Once we address outstanding issues, particularly related to autos and beef those concerns, we can realize (the agreement`s) significant economic and strategic benefits and send a strong signal of America’s commitment to the region.”

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a U.S.-based business lobbying group for free trade and multinational corporations, told Reuters that whether President Obama can fulfill his pledge to create two million jobs by doubling exports over the next five years depends on U.S. success in advancing to new markets.

He said now is the time to act, urging Obama to begin necessary procedures to ratify the deal as soon as possible. If the U.S. fails to do so, he added, the country will be overtaken by competitors such as China, Canada and the European Union in the Korean, Colombian and Panamanian markets.