Ambassador Susan Schwab and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong signed the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement at 10 a.m. this morning on Capitol Hill.
A statement from President Bush:
I am pleased that United States Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and Republic of Korea Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong today signed the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This Agreement will generate export opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service suppliers, promote economic growth and the creation of better paying jobs in the United States, and help American consumers save money while offering them greater choices. The Agreement will also further enhance the strong United States-Korea partnership, which has served as a force for stability and prosperity in Asia. I call on Congress to ratify this landmark Agreement, to the considerable benefit of the American people.
From The Korea Herald, an English-language paper, this news report, with a statement from Prime Minister Han Duck-soo:
If the amendments are not reflected in the agreement, the Korea-U.S. FTA may not be endorsed by the U.S. Congress…Korea also decided to accept the U.S. proposal to block further requests by the U.S. Congress on automobiles, rice, and other items.
NAM President John Engler upon the signing of the agreement (from our news release):
The U.S. – Korea negotiation resulted in a comprehensive agreement that came together in a short time and provides a broad scope of opportunities to most of America’s manufacturers. It contains the best IPR provisions and the strongest pro-competitive provisions we have ever seen in a trade agreement and its passage will be a real plus for most U.S. industries…
The negotiations were difficult for both sides, and this FTA is not perfect – U.S. auto makers have raised serious concerns with tariff and non-tariff provisions they feel are not adequately addressed and that will continue to block meaningful access to Korea’s auto market. The NAM is encouraging continued discussions to address these legitimate concerns.
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