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Readers’ voice

On the FTA ...

There should be little debate. Free trade means economic growth, more jobs, and lower inflation. It’s a win for both businesses and consumers in both countries. Without a doubt, certain industries will be hurt, but that is only a reflection of the fact that some industries have been protected from real competition and are thus inefficient. If you want to see a vibrant Korea, one which continues to grow its exports and its relevance in the international economy, then you really must support the FTA. Finally, a stronger economic alliance promotes a stronger security alliance between the two nations. As an American who also proudly calls Korea home all I can say is well done GNP for expending political capital on the passage of this landmark agreement.

― James Moyer, Anyang, via Facebook

The only thing that bothers me is that the FTA is 1,000 pages long. It should be one sentence long ― “we, the two countries, agree to do nothing to limit trade between our two countries.” This would be a real free trade agreement, but that’s not possible with the vested interests in both countries. What we finally have is a good start, and all Koreans should embrace it, especially because household debt is so high in Korea and consumer spending is going to be relatively low in Korea for the next few years. So, it’s a good thing that Korean businesses will have a large market to sell into.

― Brian Arundel, Seoul, via Facebook

On trade unions ...

You can define a country as a first world-country if it has good legislation for workers. To allow workers unions as a part of a democracy can be a solution. There’s still a lot of work to do on this one in Korea. But you cannot say that always in comparison with for instance Europe. Nowadays in companies you see that some unions are contra-productive in order to save jobs or to take necessary measurements which are needed in order to improve the work environment.

A good example is France where the workers’ unions rather prefer to let their company go completely bankrupt instead of agreeing with a certain percentage of dismissals to save the company. Result: Factory goes bankrupt and the production moves to a more attractive country with less involvement of the so called workers’ unions.

― Park Eun-shil, Amsterdam, via Facebook
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