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FTA Talks Stall on Lack of Compromise

Posted July. 15, 2006 06:22,   


As all section meetings were cancelled on July 14, the last day of the second round of Korea-US FTA, the negotiation has been crippled.

However, the Korean government explained, “Both sides have just waged psychological warfare to gain the upper ground; therefore we can’t say the FTA negotiation itself failed.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealed on that day, “After the U.S. suspended a meeting on medicine and medical equipment, it didn’t participate in meetings on trade regulation and service sectors scheduled to be held on July 13 and 14. Accordingly, Korea also notified the U.S. that the last day meetings on merchandise and environment sectors will be called off.”

The U.S. didn’t take part in some section meetings, expressing complaints regarding plans on making medicine prices reasonable, saying that if the plan takes effect, high-priced innovative new medicines, a U.S main export, will be discriminated against.

Chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Cutler asserted at a meeting with journalists, “Any type of reform should be transparent and fair. The negotiation suspension which reflected our concerts is a proper measure and we had no other alternative.”

However, she added, “Overcoming differences is not impossible. I have a will to find ways to reduce the differences as a negotiator.”

The two countries, which finished their schedules beginning July 10 for five days, will hold the third round of negotiations in the U.S. starting September 4 through September 8.

Seattle is a highly probable place to hold the negotiation. But it is known that Washington D.C., where the first round was held, is being reviewed as an alternative as some point out that it may be difficult to control anti-FTA expedition protestors effectively in Seattle.

Keuk-In Bae Suk-Min Hong bae2150@donga.com smhong@donga.com