Saturday, September 02, 2006

US ROK FTA - Korean Chutzpah

How are the FTA negotiations going? The US side may be silent but its hilarious to watch the Korean side spill the beans on a daily basis. The Joongang Ilbo has some detailed blow by blow negotiation points. Let me have some fun by mimicking the negotiations:

US: We need to lower Agricultural tariffs

ROK: We need to lower Textile tariffs

US: Well how about this, you take down the Agricultural Tariffs in steps of now, two, five, and ten years. Meanwhile we will do the same thing for Textiles.

ROK: We really prefer tariffs be lowered in steps of now, three, and five years.

US: Thats even better! Sounds like a deal, Agriculture and Textile tariffs eliminated in five years!

ROK: Shhhhhhhh! (Sucks air through teeth)

US: <rolls eyes knowing what's coming>

ROK: Actually we want to remove Agricultural tariffs in steps of now, five, ten, and fifteen years.

US: So you want us to accept it will take 15 years to open the Agricultural Market in Korea meanwhile you want our Textile market open in five years. That hardly seems fair, but I guess it will be fine considering we will be able to import things like rice, beef, pork, garlic, and apples tariff free in 15 years.

ROK: Shhhhhhhh! (sucks more air)

US: Now what!

ROK: Well we cannot reduce tariffs on any of those in under the 15 year program. That is to say,  please look at this list of 284 Agricultural goods that we cannot reduce tariffs on what so ever.

US: So let me get this straight, we are to eliminate all Korean Textile tariffs in 5 years, meanwhile you will take 15 years to reduce Agricultural tariffs on all things except these 284 items which includes almost everything we produce?

ROK: (Big happy smile)

US: (whispers to aide) You know, I know have a new found respect for Christopher Hill.

(Note: More items noted in similar KT piece)


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