The Happy Arab News Service

Monday, April 9, 2007

The World's Largest FTA

The US and South Korea have struck a landmark bilateral free trade deal, the biggest one until now (South Korea is the world's 11-th largest economy). The anti globalists may violently demonstrate for another decade, it's happening.

If ratified, the trade deal would eliminate tariffs on more than 90 percent of the product categories traded between the countries. South Korea agreed to lift trade barriers to important American products like cars and beef, while the United States agreed to allow Seoul to continue to subsidize South Korean rice.

The agreement is a significant victory for the Bush administration, which needed a prominent deal with clear benefits for American producers to shore up support for bilateral trade pacts with Panama, Peru and Colombia, which have thus far received a cool reception from a skeptical Congress.

. . .

The deal may also prompt a wave of bilateral trade pacts as an alternative to stalled multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization, economists said Monday.

. . .

Once hailed for seeking a greater distance from Washington, President Roh now stands accused by his leftist supporters of turning his country into the 51st state of the United States.

But the South Korean government is desperate to reverse a decline in its competitiveness, as a resurgent Japan outspends it in research and development, and China offers an ever-increasing variety of goods produced with cheap labor.



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