Saturday, August 19, 2006

US ROK FTA - Beef, its not on the table. Slave labor is.

More disturbing restrictions in the planned FTA document are leaking out. The Korean side is pretty firm on excluding beef:

Beef is not on the list of products that will enjoy tax-free status under the proposed free trade agreement between Korea and the U.S. Appearing on a radio program, the chairman of a new committee in charge of facilitating the Korea-U.S. FTA talks, Han Duck-soo, said the beef tariff will stay at 40 percent when the agreement is signed.

Equally firm are Korea's demands to include the Kaesong Industrial Park in North Korea:

Han also said Korea will continue to push the U.S. on including products made at an inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea, regardless of opposition from the international community. Washington has ruled out including products made at the Kaesong Industrial Park and is refusing to discuss the matter in negotiations.

Glad to see the US side being equally firm on Kaesong. I just hope they push the beef more, how anybody can accept a 40% tariff on anything and then still claim have a "free trade" agreement is beyond pale.

Finally, again it annoys the heck out of me to see the Korean side selling this wrong. For some reason they, and that includes the pro-FTA government, keeps on wanting to talk about these things as a loss when in actuality Korea's gain from the pact. Why not frame the debate as "Korea will give up regulations that keep beef prices 10-40% above the market price."? (to explain the 10% see here)


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