The Korea Herald


Korea-EU FTA bill to be tabled in parliamentary committee

By 김주연

Published : March 3, 2011 - 10:54

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A ratification motion for the free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union will be presented to a parliamentary committee on Thursday for approval, lawmakers said.

   The ruling Grand National Party aims to pass the Korea-EU FTA motion through the National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification next Wednesday after two days of intensive discussion at its legislation subcommittee early next week.

   But the motion faces a tough road, with the main opposition Democratic Party vowing to thoroughly examine the impact of the FTA deal to the local economy before ratifying the pact.

   South Korea and the EU signed the agreement last October, agreeing to put it into force on July 1. The European Parliament approved the FTA on Feb. 17, bringing it one step closer to coming into force this July.

   "We will submit the South Korea-EU FTA ratification motion to today's plenary meeting of the committee," Rep. Yoo Ji-june, a key GNP member of the committee, told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

   "We aim to vote on the motion during the committee's plenary meeting (next) Wednesday," he added.

   To the contrary, Rep. Kim Dong-cheol, a key DP member of the committee, reiterated the party's position that it is physically impossible to vote on the motion during the ongoing extra legislative session set to end on Saturday next week.

   "We will submit the motion but need to thoroughly examine it because it was written in an enormous volume of papers," Kim said.

   Last month, some lawmakers discovered translation errors in the deal's Korean-language version, though trade officials played down the issue, saying they were minor typing errors. 

The government fixed the errors in a final version sent to the parliament after it
passed the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

   If it takes effect, the agreement will eliminate 98 percent of import duties and other trade barriers in manufactured goods, agricultural products and services between South Korea and the EU within the next five years.

(Yonhap News)