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American Shipper

Korean official: Election won’t deter U.S.-South Korea FTA

Korean official: Election won’t deter U.S.-South Korea FTA

Whoever is elected president in November, it won’t hamper the process of finalizing a free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea, an official with the East Asian nation said Wednesday.

   “We believe that our trade deal will go through, despite all the uncertainties stemming from the disparate views from the U.S. presidential candidates,” Lee Hye-min, director general for the Korea-U.S. FTA at Korea’s Trade Ministry, told reporters during a briefing, as reported by the Korea Herald. “From this perspective, we believe that the U.S. Congress cannot ignore the importance of a Korea-U.S. FTA.”

   The Bush Administration-led push for an FTA with South Korea has been stymied by the Democrat-controlled Congress, which has put the brakes on many of the president’s FTA plans.

   Two-way trade between the two countries was $78 billion in 2006, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The FTA could add more than $10 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and inject a similar amount into the Korean economy, the USTR said.

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