AFP, Seoul, 18 Feb 2006
S Korean farmers, movie makers rally over US trade talks
Feb 18: Some 2,000 South Korean farmers, movie-makers and anti-US activists staged a candlelight protest Friday against free trade negotiations with the United States.
The protestors waved placards and denounced the United States for forcing "humiliating" free-trade negotiations.
The rally near the US embassy in central Seoul was led by film stars including Choi Min-Shik, the star of "Old Boy", which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival in 2004.
Two weeks ago South Korea and the United States announced the launch of talks aimed at establishing a free-trade agreement (FTA).
South Korea, the seventh-largest trade partner of the United States, has cleared the way for the talks by halving a 40-year- old quota, which forced cinemas to show domestic movies at least 146 days a year.
Government officials here said the FTA would boost South Korea’s exports and economic growth.
But farmers say the trade pact will result in additional imports in South Korea’s already struggling agricultural sector.