Korea-U.S. FTA Faces Another Delay

      July 21, 2011 12:33

      The long-running saga of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement continues, with hopes now dashed that the U.S. Congress will finally ratify the deal before it goes into recess on Aug. 6. That could mean another epic delay as the U.S. politics become increasingly fractious ahead of the presidential election campaign that starts in September.

      White House Chief of Staff William Daley said on Tuesday, "I don't know if [the FTA deals will] be approved by August, but we're moving forward on them.” The general consensus is that Daley, who is eager for ratification of the FTA, is being unduly optimistic.

      Several FTA bills have been sidelined in the U.S. as leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate are preoccupied with negotiations to cut the budget deficit to avoid a shutdown of government.

      A diplomatic source in Washington D.C. said, "Although everyone agrees with the Korea-U.S. FTA, the bill has not been passed as different political interests have gotten in the way. After September, political conflict will intensify, and that will make it even more difficult to predict what's going to happen."

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