October 22, 2019 11:00
Two out of every three Koreans have a positive view of free trade agreements, a survey shows.
The Korea Consumer Agency on Monday released the findings of its online survey of 3,000 people aged 25 to 59 on the effects of FTAs, conducted to mark the 15th anniversary of the Korea-Chile FTA, the country’s first such agreement.
It found that 67.5 percent believe the global pacts have largely benefited the economy, up from 46.3 percent in a similar survey in 2015.
Asked about what benefits they think FTAs have brought, 88.1 percent cited "increased variety of goods" and 66.6 percent "lowered prices."
Consumers particularly feel those benefits when they buy fruit, liquor, health supplements and small household appliances.
Some 87.5 percent of respondents who have bought fruit said FTAs have widened the range of products available, while 76.3 percent said quality has improved.
Among those who have bought liquor, 86.3 percent liked that more kinds have become available and 66.4 percent that prices have gone down.
On the negative side, product safety and hygiene are two main concerns regarding imported goods under FTAs, particularly when it comes to livestock and fisheries products.
Korea has put 16 FTAs into effect so far -- four during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, four during the Lee Myung-bak administration, seven during the Park Geun-hye government and one during the current Moon Jae-in government.
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