South Korea Not Happy with Current U.S. Trade Agreement

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BY RYAN SCHMIDT ANCHOR LAUREN GORES The U.S. and South Korea signed a trade agreement back in 2007, but...
BY RYAN SCHMIDT ANCHOR LAUREN GORES The U.S. and South Korea signed a trade agreement back in 2007, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that the U.S. Congress finally passed a renegotiated version. That, coinciding with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s visit to Washington. Mr. Lee called the agreement “a historical achievement” and a “win-win.” But as the bill awaits President Obama’s signature, there are mixed emotions in South Korea. China’s Xinhua reports South Korea’s conservative ruling Grand National Party is celebrating the agreement’s passage, and is calling for an end to the controversy surrounding the agreement. "’With the U.S. Congressional approval of the accord, the issue shouldn't be politicized anymore,’ the party released in a statement Thursday. ‘Opposition parties should cooperate with us for the sake of national interests.’" The agreement aims to boost US exports by as much as $11 billion in the first year. But The Korea Times reports the GNP’s rival Democratic Party is calling for yet another renegotiation. The DP says the current agreement hurts small businesses and individuals. “Under the so-called ‘10+2 proposal,’ the DP is demanding that the ruling party, as well as the government, come up with protective measures for farmers and banking sector workers who are likely to lose out.” And some U.S. lawmakers are against the deal, arguing trade agreements send jobs outside the U.S.. REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D-OH): “At a time when we should be in America and they will lead to further decline of the middle class. The U.S.-Korea trade agreement will cost almost 160,000 jobs in this country in the first seven years.” That -- on the same day Korean President Lee Myung-Bak addressed a joint session of Congress. And in Korea, Wall Street Journal blogger Alastair Gale says it’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. “Whatever steps are put in place are unlikely to win over the opposition, which has gained traction in recent months with its message that the government has ridden rough-shod over the interests of working people in favor of big business. Look for South Korea’s famously physical politicians to trade blows when the FTA comes up in parliament.” According to AFP -- after China and the EU, the U.S. is Korea’s third largest trade partner. Census Bureau figures put US trade with South Korea at almost $90 billion last year. Transcript by Newsy