The Korea Herald


Korea to improve systems for KORUS FTA implementation

By Korea Herald

Published : March 13, 2012 - 19:34

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South Korea will step up efforts to streamline regulations, distribution structure and other systems that could hamper the successful implementation of the free trade agreement with the United States, the finance minister said Tuesday.

“We will improve inefficient systems such as the complex distribution structure and other regulations that could pose a hindrance to the FTA with the U.S.,” Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said during a meeting with other policymakers.

He vowed to provide more information on customs-clearing process, industry trends and others to domestic companies to help them better capitalize on the environment to be created by free trade deal with the world’s largest economy.

South Korea is to enforce the South Korea-U.S. FTA, also known as KORUS FTA, on Thursday. The scheduled implementation of the free trade pact will come amid growing calls from opposition parties to renegotiate the agreement, which they claim unfairly favors the U.S.

The main opposition Democratic United Party has vowed to scrap the pact if it wins April’s general elections, unless Washington agrees to hold renegotiations to revise some clauses.

They also claim the so-called investor-state dispute mechanism between the Seoul government and foreign investors undermines South Korea’s legal independence.

Bahk said that the government will launch a task force to address “misunderstanding and concerns that some people might have about the ISD.”

He also promised to help farmers and smaller companies enhance their competitiveness and survive under the free trade environment.

South Korea is currently seeking to expand what it calls its “economic territory” by striking free trade deals. Seoul is also working hard to explore such deals with its neighboring countries, including China and Japan.

In particular, the minister said that the government will thoroughly prepare for discussions on an FTA with China in order to make the deal into “another stepping stone for our economic development.” 

(Yonhap News)