Wednesday, August 30, 2006

US ROK FTA - Ivory Towers Speak

I would be remiss if I did not mention a series of articles, likely put into some special section in the real paper, on the FTA. Most of them are professors and intellectuals of some stripe. Some interesting, many not so. Allow me to link with a brief review a few of them:

Financial Reforms More Important Than FTA Itself
By Shyn Yong-Sang
Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at Korea Institute of Finance

First, I am going to call him Mr. Shin, I am declaring a personal war on tortured romanizations after Mssrs. Chough and Vark. Mr. Shin gives a good outline of the US-Singapore FTA and how it can serve as a model (or an argumentative proxy) for the Korean FTA. To me however he does not back up his headline which has a nugget of truth, many of the reforms Korea may have to take as part of the FTA will actually end up benefiting Korea.

FTA Boon or Bane for Korean Economy
Hyun Jung-taik
President of Korea Development Institute

Good persuasive article on why the FTA will be a good thing for Korea, and in reality there is little to fear. I find some humor of his rather stark assessment of the benefits of free trade most proponents avoid, some people have to loose.

FTA to Build Bridge for Future Prosperity
By Kim Sung-jin
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy

Perhaps the big gun writing. Pretty bland Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs boilerplate. However I would like to point out two metaphors. The ill timed "both sides brought home the bacon", does this mean a compromise on pork imports? Second is the statement "The FTA is the new 'Silk Road'". In my six years in Korea the "New Silk Road" has been applied to the Internet, the North/South Rail link, the "Hub of Asia" plan, and oddly DMB mobile services. Find new Konglish to stick in there Mr. Kim.

Korea-US FTA Deal Faces Bumpy Road
By Henry M. Seggerman
President of International Investment Advisers

In his rather acid contribution Mr. Seggerman finds time to swipe at US immigration policy and predict a unified currency and stock market in 2050. Consider him flagged for unnecessary roughness. Also somebody wake him up, we already have a unified stock market in all but name only.

FTA Poses New Challenge to Financial Market
By Yang Doo-yong
Head of International Finance Department at Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Mr. Yang takes 1,255 to say that the FTA presents both a crisis and oprotunity to the Korean financial industry. In other words he punted, and not very well. (BTW-Note the rather anti-FTA boxed quote the Korea Times gives.)

Meanwhile you might want to browse the rest of the articles in the business section a few more talking about the future of the Korean economy. I had to give up, I got woozy from some of the vapid hot gas exposed in some articles.


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