Updated March. 17, 2014 06:28
The U.S. business daily Wall Street Journal said that Korea benefits more from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to galvanize trade. At a forum held at the U.S. Congress, civic groups including Public Citizen, expressed discontent, saying that since the effectuation of the treaty on March 5, 2012, the U.S. export to Korea plunged by 9.2 billion U.S. dollars, significantly adding to U.S. trade deficit.
The assessment is accurate given trade data on the Korea-U.S. FTA, which marked its second anniversary on Saturday. After recording a trade surplus of 15.2 billion dollars with the U.S. in 2012, Korea enjoyed a trade surplus of 20.5 billion dollars with the U.S. last year, which almost doubles that in 2011. Nonetheless, the U.S. cannot be deemed to have suffered loss. U.S. Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim said that American consumers have a chance to conveniently use high quality Korean products, while sales of latest models of U.S. automobiles more than doubled in Korea, in judging that the Korea-U.S. ties have further cemented due to the trade accord.
Claims by left-leaning civic groups and farmers organizations in Korea, which argued that Korea`s agricultural sector would become devastated due to massive influx of U.S. beef and agricultural produce, have been proven to be groundless. Koreas import of U.S. agriculture and livestock products has dropped by 20 percent since the FTA, while its export of domestic agriculture and livestock products to the U.S. has increased 20 percent. In contrast, import of American beef decreased by 5.9 percent on average per year for the past two years. The reasons for this are believed to be the popularity of Australian beef here and the aftereffect of the groundless rumors over mad cow disease risks made up by those behind candlelight vigils.
When the Korea-U.S. FTA was being deliberated at the National Assembly for ratification in November 2011, Rep. Kim Seon-dong of the Democratic Labor Party committed tear gas attack at the parliament. In February 2012, more than 50 incumbent and former lawmakers with the Democratic United Party and the Unified Progressive Party held a convention to halt the process for the effectuation of the KOR-US FTA, visited the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and submitted a letter to PU.S. President Barack Obama. Leaders of the Democratic Party and left-leaning organizations used extreme expressions such as treaty of national demise, and the pro-American toadyism, and we wonder what they will say to excuse themselves this time.
The KOR-US FTA, which the late former President Roh Moo-hyun initiated in 2008 and former President Lee Myung-bak concluded in 2011, was aimed at increasing national interests through free trade, and two-year track-records have demonstrated its success. Due to their anachronistic obsession with left-leaning, anti-American, anti-globalization, those behind candlelight vigils who unconditionally opposed the trade pact should write a letter of deep self-reflection and apology.