Kim Jong-hoon, the trade minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said yesterday that there would be no renegotiations or changes made to the original Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement.I would pat myself on the back here, but predicting the Korean response wasn't exactly rocket science (or any science for that matter). They've been perfectly consistent about (not) renegotiating the FTA for a long while now.
The remarks came after U.S. President Barack Obama promised Korean President Lee Myung-bak during the G-20 Summit in Toronto that he would push the U.S. Congress to approve the FTA, which was signed three years ago yesterday.
But congressional approval is seen as unlikely unless Korea makes more concessions on improving the access of U.S. beef and cars into the Korean market as demanded by American lawmakers.
Kim’s remarks underscored that Korea was in no mood for further compromises. “Taking just one period - one comma - out of the agreement will mean a complete revision. This will not happen,” he told reporters at a press briefing.
(h/t Phil Levy, who also catalogs today the chorus line of anti-trader opposition to Obama's KORUS announcement. Good times.)