Kimchi and Hyundai to Go Free Trade
President Barack Obama announced on Saturday that a free trade deal between the United States and South Korea has finished negotiations. This will be the largest free trade deal since NAFTA. Of course, not everyone is pleased by the news. Boeing and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spoke out in favor of the deal, while the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition and Ford Motor Co. pressed for continued protection of the American market.
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon rebuffed local critics who claimed that he had negotiated prematurely, the agreement coming not long after North Korea’s artillery attacks. “I only negotiated this on the basis of economic principles,” Mr. Kim. President Obama similarly remarked that the deal reflected the United States’ own determination “to lead and compete in our global economy.”
In Congress, both the outgoing and incoming Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee have voiced support for the agreement. Americans will be able to enjoy cheaper beef, popcorn, and trucks while Koreans will finally be able to enjoy American-grown citrus!
As delicious as this deal sounds, nothing’s final until the respective legislatures ratify the new trade treaty. While South Korea will likely pass the new provision painlessly — thanks to the majority party’s endorsement — the treaty’s smooth passage through Congress is questionable, since it will be up to the new members sworn in next month to decide.
Even though this will turn out to be a major victory for the Obama administration, let’s hope that Tea Partiers will remember that protectionism will only lead to more expensive tea, and that we should be standing with our South Korean allies.
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TAGS: Barack Obama • Kim Jong-hoon • Korean economy • NAFTA • South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement • tea party • trade deal
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