Wednesday, August 23, 2006

US ROK FTA - Hear no Good, Speak no Good, See no Good

Since nobody will play this up, and I only saw one article about this, I thought I should highlight it:

At a conference in Seoul yesterday, Lee Young-joo, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, said a poll of 1,200 small and medium-sized firms found that 71 percent had a positive or neutral attitude toward a free trade accord with the United States.... In contrast, a little under 16 percent of respondents said they expected a free trade agreement to have a negative effect on their businesses... "Although a trade deal would help Korean companies extend their business abroad and encourage technical cooperation with the United States among high-technology companies," Mr. Lee said,

However KIET is a government body so it has to do its best to keep up Korea's ham-handed FTA sales technique. So accordingly Mr Lee does his best to whip-up the plight of the 16 percent and engages in some veiled anti-americanism:

 "it would also increase risks for small companies. For example, large companies might import goods rather than use local suppliers, and the number of takeover attempts [of small firms] would increase."

Yes, god forbid an American might try to give Mr. Kim an ungodly amount of money for his widget casting business. Not to mention the first part of the "yes but..." comment where in it is just as likely that under free trade that US companies may choose small Korean co's as suppliers. However we cannot play up that benefit now can we KIET?

In fact the according to the article an FTA is not something to "benefit" from but to "defend against", literally:

To defend themselves, Mr. Lee said, small and medium-sized companies should boost their exports to the United States, high-technology companies should increase their technical cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, and companies expecting to suffer losses from increased imports should diversify as quickly as possible.

If shooting yourself in the foot was an Olympic sport...


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