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U.S. lawmakers ask for revision to S. Korea FTA textile clause

Yonhap News, Seoul

6 August 2010

U.S. lawmakers ask for revision to S. Korea FTA textile clause

WASHINGTON. Aug. 6 (Yonhap) — U.S. lawmakers have asked for a revision to the textile clause in the free trade agreement (FTA) signed with South Korea in 2007, congressional sources said Friday.

Sources said the Congressional Textile Caucus jointly chaired by Howard Coble, a Republican lawmaker from North Carolina, and Democrat John Spratt from South Carolina claimed that the present trade clause governing apparels and clothing is unfair.

In a letter addressed to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk earlier in the month, the legislators said if no changes are made to the FTA, local textile and clothing companies will be placed at a disadvantage resulting in more jobs being lost.

They urged Washington to include textiles when bilateral talks are held to address the U.S.’s concerns on beef and autos.

The U.S. textile industry as a whole has been concerned that an FTA with South Korea could cause tariffs on imports to come down in a short period of time. This, they forecast, could hurt many U.S. companies who may be hard pressed to compete with cheaper imports.

Washington has said it wants to wrap up additional talks with South Korea on the FTA issue before the G-20 economic summit meeting to be held in Seoul in November.