Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Will the Bulldozer ram it through?

The sign our traditionally dressed National Assemblyman Kang Gigap
is holding expresses opposition to the Korea-EU FTA.

Over at the Wall Street Journal blog, Evan Ramstad wonders if the ruling GNP (Grand National Party) will take advantage of its majority to simply ram through the pending US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) and the North Korea Human Rights Act?

If they don't get cooperation from the Democratic Party, that's just what they might do, and Mr Ramstad argues it might not be in the DP's interest to abstain:
The Democratic Party joined other left-leaning, opposition parties in abstaining from Wednesday’s vote on the EU FTA. That was portrayed in the South Korean media as a maneuver by DP chairman Sohn Hak-kyu, who got elected to the parliament in last week’s by-election, to curry favor with the smaller parties to support him for a presidential run next year.

But some in the DP instantly regretted the decision because the GNP passed the FTA without taking up assistance measures for farmers and retailers that the DP was pushing. Previously, the two parties had agreed that the GNP would support the DP’s assistance measures in return for the DP’s support on the overall ratification.
In general I support free trade, but I have qualms about people being overrun when the floodgates are open to new competition, so I kinda like the idea of this joint GNP-DP approach as a way to allow the inevitable in a way that makes things smoother. Supposedly.

I'd also like to see passage of the KORUS FTA without a hitch too many hitches.

And speaking of the NKHRA, the Joongang Daily has a good op-ed on it here. They also have a short but interesting article on the 101 North Koreans who have resettled in the United States.

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