BUSINESS

Parliamentary speaker calls KORUS FTA ‘bedrock’ of Korea-US ties

By Julie Kim Jackson
  • Published : Aug 24, 2017 - 17:51
  • Updated : Aug 24, 2017 - 17:54
Amid ambiguity hovering over future negotiations on the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, Speaker of the Korean National Assembly Chung Sye-Kyun on Thursday defended the agreement as a win-win bedrock of Korea-US relations that must be negotiated wisely so as not to disrupt more than six decades of strong bilateral ties.

During a general membership meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, or AmCham, at Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Chung stressed the importance of continuing the strong political and economic relationship between Korea and the United States. 

(Yonhap)

The six-term National Assembly leader spoke to the members of AmCham, conveying his stance that the committee should continue to help broaden mutual understanding and deepen relations between Korea and the US.

“About 10 years ago, when the KORUS FTA was negotiated, AmCham played a positive role and it truly understood US and Korean business interests, and helped reflect them in the agreement harmoniously,” said Chung during his opening remarks.

“As a result, the KORUS FTA has become the bedrock of our economic ties and provided a textbook example and good model to be followed by many other agreements as a reference point,” he continued. “Looking back on the past 10 years of performance, the KORUS FTA has presented a win-win opportunity for both our nations to reap great profits through increased bilateral trade and increased exports of US goods to Korea.”

Chung’s speech comes after a special joint committee session on the KORUS FTA held in Seoul on Tuesday. The meeting was held at the request of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and aimed to address possible amendments or modifications of the trade deal in order to resolve what the Trump Administration has referred to as a trade imbalance between the two parties.

However, according to Korea’s top trade negotiator Kim Hyun-chong, trade representatives from Seoul and Washington were unable to come to any consensus during the session, citing differing views on the effects of the trade deal.

On Wednesday, the US trade representative announced that the country remains committed to amending terms of the trade deal and that Washington plans to continue discussions in the coming weeks regarding issues raised during the joint session.

Although Chung views the KORUS FTA as creating reciprocal benefits overall, he also said efforts need to be made to review matters affecting the operation of the trade deal and that improvements should be made if necessary for the sake of maintaining healthy bilateral ties.

“Korea’s remarkable transformation from aid recipients to a donor country was based on the rock solid Korea-US alliance that has lasted for more than 60 years,” Chung said. 

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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