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Lee Stresses Importance Of KORUS FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

23 August 2011

In a radio and internet address, South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak has emphasized the importance of the global market for the country and, within that context, the government’s core strategy of securing free trade agreements (FTAs).

He pointed out that South Korea has signed more FTAs than any other country in the world, with benefits beyond expectations. In just seven years of signing an FTA with Chile, two-way trade has tripled. The four-year old South Korea-Association of Southeast Asian Nations FTA has bolstered bilateral trade by 60% and, one year after South Korea and India signed such an agreement, the two countries have seen their two-way trade boosted by 40% this year.

On July 1 this year, the South Korea-European Union FTA went into force, so that, when the FTA with the United States is ratified, he said that South Korea “will become a global FTA hub both in name and substance.”

There has been a report, he added, that the South Korea-US FTA will bolster the country’s gross domestic product by 5.7% and create 350,000 new jobs. However, he said, “if we lose more time, we may lag behind competing nations. The government has prepared remedial measures to address some relevant issues. The treaty must be ratified for the future of the Republic.”

The remedial measures he was referring to include financial support for farmers and fishermen who suffer from imports of products following reduced tariffs under FTAs signed by South Korea. The amount of that support will now total KRW22.1 trillion (USD20.3bn), an increase of a further KRW1 trillion over the previous plan announced in 2007.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Chile | India | law | tariffs | agreements | Korea, South | United States | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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