| U.S. Expressed Interest in FTA with Korea: Cheong Wa Dae Advisor |
9th September 2004
NEW YORK -- Presidential Economic Advisor Cho Yoon-je said Wednesday that the United States has expressed its intention through unofficial channels to actively pursue the establishment of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea.
Cho made this remark during a press meeting held after delivering a speech at a joint seminar on investor relations in New York. He also said, “It would be desirable for Korea to simultaneously seek bilateral free trade agreements with the U.S., China, ASEAN countries and South America.
He said, “As far as I know, the U.S. expressed its position that it could establish an FTA with Korea right away if Korea could remove obstacles related to the rice issue,” and added, “There is a strong voice within the U.S. that it would be better to form an FTA with major countries like Korea rather than small countries.”
According to him, since the international negotiations are being held over the liberalization of the rice market, their results would have great effects on the future efforts to establish an FTA.
In addition, Cho argued, “If Korea itself cannot control the speed of the global economy, it is important for it to closely keep up with the global economy. This should be taken into account when Korea pushes for foreign policies. The country has developed its foreign strategies with a defensive attitude to minimize domestic damage so far, but it is necessary to take a more active attitude in the future in developing FTA and foreign strategies.”
In connection with that, he said, “When the newly-established Foreign Economic Committee held its first meeting, the issue of simultaneously seeking FTAs was raised and the president himself stressed the need to take an active and comprehensive approach toward the issue.”
Meanwhile, Cho is expected to visit Washington on Thursday to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the Economic Advisor Council, and Presidential Economic Advisor Stephen Friedman.