April 19, 2009

S. Korea: U.S. hasn’t sought to change FTA

South Korea says the United States has yet to ask for a renegotiation of the delayed Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon said Sunday at the Boao, China, Forum for Asia annual conference that despite repeated assertions by U.S. President Barack Obama during last year's campaign he was dissatisfied with the terms of the proposed deal, the White House has yet to seek to modify the pact, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

I have never heard that the U.S. government has raised the need for a renegotiation of KORUS FTA (Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement), Kim said. The matter was not mentioned during the confirmation hearing of new U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Kim also predicted progress will be made on the agreement in the second half of the year. Seoul and Washington signed the deal in June 2007 but it has yet to obtain approval from the legislatures of either nation.

The U.S. may be well aware that a renegotiation of the bilateral FTA is impossible and a foolish thing to do, Kim told Yonhap.