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US welcomes passage of S. Korean bill aimed at fighting illegal fishing

The office of the US Trade Representative has welcomed the parliamentary passage of a South Korean bill designed to combat illegal fishing and lauded Seoul's efforts to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The National Assembly passed an amendment to the country's distant water fisheries development act Thursday after the United States made a preliminary decision in September to designate South Korea as an IUU fishing country.


On Friday, the USTR issued a statement welcoming the passage of the act.

"We commend Korea for acting expeditiously to strengthen its regime to combat illegal fishing, which disadvantages law-abiding fishermen everywhere," said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

After the designation, the USTR called for Seoul's trade ministry to hold environment consultations under a Korea-US free trade agreement.

The oceans ministry, meanwhile, said it has kicked off the process to obtain the delisting of Seoul from illegal fishing country status by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The USTR is not an agency that has authority to remove the status, but we will do our best to obtain the delisting at an early date, regarding the USTR's message as a promising sign," a government official said. (Yonhap)