Local farmers and stockbreeders protesting against Korus FTA demand the trade ministry put off the public hearing that was held on Friday at Coex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
The South Korean government on Friday held a public hearing on possible amendments to the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), a must procedure before it enters formal talks with Washington to revisit the five-year free trade deal at the request of the United States.
¡°We will reflect discussions from the public hearing as well as the latest economy feasibility study (on the renegotiation of the deal) to design our strategy on a trade deal in accordance with the trade procedure law and report it to the National Assembly,¡± the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.
Any trade deal must go through public hearing, feasibility study, report and review at the National Assembly on the outline, and cabinet approval.
The public hearing held at the Convention and Exhibition Center (Coex) in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, on Friday, was interrupted by protesting farmers from agriculture and stockbreeding association. The ministry had to quickly end the hearing without Q&A session, but nevertheless maintained the hearing was valid.
In the second session in Washington last month, Seoul and Washington agreed to initiate procedures to amend the bilateral trade agreement. Key issues are automobile and agriculture sector.
By Ko Jae-man and Lee Eun-joo
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