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Free Trade With Korea: Stuck In A Political Rut
Date: 3/11/2011
Written By: Fiscal Times: By Jonathan Stern

Excerpt: Ratifying the U.S.-South Korea Free-Trade Agreement is a no-brainer, advocates say. So why has the trade agreement languished without Congressional approval since the Bush administration and South Korea signed the pact in 2007? And what will it take beyond a pricey, aggressive South Korean lobbying effort in Washington to get the agreement ratified?… The lobbying "makes sense because it's the biggest FTA" since NAFTA, says Chuck Dittrich, vice president of regional trade initiatives for the National Foreign Trade Council… South Korea has "gone on a robust FTA expansion policy" with several nations, explains Stangarone. In addition to the EU deal, South Korea has free trade agreements with India, Chile and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; a just-concluded pact with Peru; and is in negotiations with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the Gulf Cooperation Council. "When you look at the landscape, the U.S. has a choice," says Bill Kelly, senior vice president for the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents U.S. multinationals. "We can sign the FTA or cede the market in Korea to [the EU and] other countries." Under that scenario, the U.S. would lose 345,000 current and new jobs diverted to other free trade agreements, notes a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study.