Thursday, July 15, 2010

South Korea: "We will accept no negotiations on the signed FTA... unless it helps get it passed."

Well, they didn't really say it like that, but I thought I'd use quotation marks the way they're used by the Korean media and Metropolitician of Korean Media Watch: not what they actually said but what I imagine they said or I wish they had said.

From Reuters:
South Korea is ready to consider "creative" solutions to open its market to more U.S. beef and auto imports to help win U.S. approval of a bilateral free trade agreement, South Korea's ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Han Duk-soo also said he was confident the two countries would resolve the troublesome issues by a November deadline set last month by U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

"Just rest assured we will finish in accordance with the timeline set by President Obama and President Lee," Han said at an event with members of Congress and industry officials to push for approval of the deal.

South Korea is prepared to plunge headlong into the talks with the United States to come up with "creative and mutually acceptable solutions," Han said.
Nothing like a little hamburger fat to grease the wheels of economic diplomacy. I'm encouraged that both Seoul and Washington seem determined to get this passed, since I believe that whatever comes out the other end of the trade representatives' meat grinder will be not only be better than the status quo now, but will also be a better position from which to work through whatever problems occur in the future.

Nevertheless, as I stated here, I have not been happy about the Obama administrations idea of trying to renegotiate a signed agreement for the purpose of politicking, and I'm not too terribly pleased that Seoul has, with the ambassador's comments above, essentially acquiesced to this position.


  1. hmm i am not surprised SK wants a FTA with US,a s they benefit alot.

    on the other hand, China loves to extend the FTA with SK, but SK is afraid of Chinese economic dominance...maybe afraid like US? who knows

  2. I have a friend in Taiwan who works for the opposition party, and she says a lot of people in Taiwan are very afraid of being overrun with Chinese products and falling under Beijing's thumb economically.

    I can see SoKos (and me as a SoKo resident if not a SoKo citizen) feeling the same type of anxiety. As long as China distorts the value of the yuan to promote exports in a way that causes them to wash over foreign competitors, I'm not too terribly in favor of an FTA between ROK and the PRC. ROK and the ROC, I have no problem. And ROK and Japan, I'd like to see that.

  3. opposition, meaning DPP? of course, then your friend says what he says. But the recent economic deal i think is supported by the many businessmen of taiwan. let me tell you this: taiwan reunifying with china is far more likely than SK and NK. It is gonna happen. Unless something really bad happens. Understand that china is very pragmatic, as they are more willing to reunify taiwan by peaceful economic means than force, altho force is good for some external alternative pressure.

    also, i am unconvicned that an american would say yuan is "too" undervalued." who says china must un-fix their currency from the dollar? is not own's currency control, a sovereign right? i beleive japan made the mistake of following US's advice for letting yen float, making its exports less compettitve.

    also, you are american so you may have strong feelings on the china-us trade, but understand that Us's economic failings are its own, and China is lucky to have a govt not behold to the US like Mexico is, or else the chinese economic sacrifices would be for naught

  4. hmm how long have you been in SK? I am surprised you hold so many Western biases on China after being in SK, as SK an China have similar social atittudes to "blood" brothers, reunification, and natioanl pride. I am not saying China aand SK people are better, but there are different priorities diferent to the priorities of the American society.

  5. John, I think you assume too much about me. I am from California, but I'm a longtime resident of Seoul with Korean family. My views are atypical of any part of the US socio-political spectrum, but they fit somewhat nicely into the right-of-center South Korean political spectrum.

    My biases toward China are first-hand from living in Seoul, with very little to do with the US. I wrote my China Rant five years ago when few Americans had noticed that all the stuff they buy from Walmart said "Made in China" on the bottom.

    My views toward China are based on Korean stuff, and predate this kind of thing. I'm prescient that way.

    You didn't answer my question before, John: What country are you from? Not that I would pigeonhole you as thinking one way or another based on where you're from, just that it might provide a better way of sharing understanding of these issues.

    And for the record, my beef is with Beijing policies, not with Chinese people, among whom I count a number of friends. I've traveled to China many times and I quite enjoy the place and the people.

  6. sorry.

    i am korean, although not at korea at the mamoent. and yes, i like you and do not think you are racist (i would enver call someone racist unelss i was 100% sure). and i am happy you are right-center, as i am right center too (but not in all ways).

    at the same time, i just thoguht you were "naive" and "romantic" because you write stuff that young people in 20s of age write (sometimes). but i think i like your blog!


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