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Cabinet OKs supplementary U.S. FTA

The Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a supplementary agreement to the free trade deal concluded between Korea and the United States, a government spokesman said.

In December, the two countries came to a final consensus on the bilateral free trade agreement after revising terms on issues such as auto tariffs and pork, paving the way for the parliamentary ratification of a pact that was originally signed about four years ago. The result of the supplementary deal will be articulated in the accord through a form of “exchange of letters,” not revising the text.

The main and the supplementary agreements need to get parliamentary ratification before both countries can enforce them.

Under the December deal, Korea and the U.S. agreed to delay the elimination of tariffs on American pork for two years and scale back tariff cuts for automobiles.

The U.S. will eliminate its 2.5 percent tariff on Korean cars within four years, instead of immediately or after three years as was previously agreed, after the deal takes effect.

Korea will reduce its 8 percent tariff on U.S. car imports to 4 percent, instead of eliminating it immediately and soften regulations on automotive safety and environmental standards. 

During the Cabinet meeting, the government also endorsed a law revision that would make it easier for Korean universities to establish branch schools abroad and a plan to pay 23.17 billion won ($21 million) in indemnities to a group of residents living near the U.S. air bases in Gunsan and Osan.

The government recently lost a “noise pollution” lawsuit filed by the residents.

About 28,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Korea as a deterrent against North Korea. 

(Yonhap News)
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