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  Govt, ruling party discuss ratification of S. Korea-U.S. FTA
  09 Ҿѹ 2554

Date: 9 February 2011



The government and the ruling party on Wednesday discussed ways to press for parliamentary ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA).

During the meeting, Kim Moo-sung, floor leader of the Grand National Party (GNP), vowed not to ram through a ratification motion through the legislature while Cabinet ministers called for an early ratification.

"The GNP will never railroad the KORUS FTA through parliament," Kim said. "We will address it in a decent but timely manner."

In December, the two countries came to a final consensus on the KORUS FTA after revising terms on issues such as auto tariffs and pork, paving the way for the parliamentary ratification of a pact that was originally signed about four years ago.

Emphasizing the importance of the accord for the national economic development, Kim asked for doubled government efforts to draw support from opposition parties and the public.

Nam Kyung-pil, a GNP lawmaker who chairs the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, trade and inter-Korean unification, said Israel and Turkey showed their strong hope for signing the FTA with South Korea when he visited the Middle Eastern countries last week.

"The biggest reason was that South Korea forged FTAs with big world economies such as the U.S. and the European Union (EU)," he said.

In response, Rim Che-min, chief of staff to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, said the government will do its best to form a social consensus on the importance of the KORUS FTA and get an early ratification of the deal.

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said the U.S. and the EU are both moving to complete domestic procedures to effectuate FTAs with South Korea.

"We should not delay. It is our duty to make sure the agreements benefit the national economy and companies," he stressed.

Keywords: FTA / Korea / EU / US