Discord Rising in US Over FTA With Korea
9 November 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Korea on Nov. 18, but discord over the ratification of the bilateral free trade agreement with Korea is rising in the U.S.
In the Korea-U.S. Economic Conference at the Willard InterContinental in Washington Friday, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said the U.S. government has prepared itself for the agreement’s ratification, but that the Korean government could believe that Washington paid attention only to health care reform and done nothing for the accord.
He said, however, that the U.S. government has made progress toward the ratification of the trade agreement.
A group of 88 congressmen sent a letter to President Obama urging him to ratify the deal, warning that lack of progress could hurt U.S. competitiveness and the American job market.
“With a few days left before his summit with Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, Obama should launch steps to make Congress consider the FTA,” the letter said. “The Korea-U.S. FTA will be the most economically beneficial trade agreement the U.S. has negotiated in 15 years.”
In Michigan, however, another 12 congressmen sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asking him to get Korea to further open up its auto market.
“Korea has used non-tariff barriers to kick imported cars out of the nation. The Korea-U.S. FTA should be adjusted. The Obama administration should make an all-out effort to help American cars compete on a level-playing field in the Korean market,” the letter said.