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US businesses in Korea renew call for early FTA

ChosunIlbo, Korea

U.S. Businesses in Korea Renew Call for Early FTA

1 February 2006

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea has renewed a call for early conclusion of a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Korea. AMCHAM president Tami Overby on Wednesday reminded reporters that a congressional authority for the U.S. government to expedite FTAs expires in June 2007 and time is therefore very short.

She hailed the Korean government’s “difficult” decision to accommodate U.S. preconditions for the talks by resuming beef imports and reducing a screen quota for domestic films. However, she said the main challenges were less between the two governments but rather in building domestic support from business, politicians, non-governmental organizations and the general public.

Overby claimed Korea will have a huge competitive advantage over other Asian countries if it becomes the first in the region to conclude the FTA.

At the same news conference, AMCHAM Chairman Wayne Chumley reiterated the chamber’s support for an early U.S. visa waiver for Koreans given the trade volume between the two countries.