October 05, 2011 11:46
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday submitted the free trade agreement with Korea to the Senate for approval. Barring further unexpected delays, the pact is expected to be ratified by the time President Lee Myung-bak arrives in Washington for a visit on Oct. 13.
But in Korea, the chances that the National Assembly will ratify the FTA by that time are vanishingly slim. The ruling and opposition camps have clashed fiercely over it ever since it was signed in June 2007. It took four years and four months just for the bill to be put before the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.
On Tuesday, the ruling Grand National Party said if the U.S. Senate passes the FTA, it will do so in October as well. But the main opposition Democratic Party continues to oppose the pact, saying there are still parts that need to be fixed, so further renegotiations should be held.
A failure by Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling and opposition camps to pass the bilateral free trade pact could result in serious economic consequences for Korea.
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