DP finalizes position on KORUS FTA renegotiations
: The party remains divided over the best way to respond to additional concessions by the Lee administration
By Lee Se-young
Nov. 3, 2010
Debate has intensified a decision remains imminent for the Democratic Party’s official position on the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).
During its sixth meeting on Tuesday, the Democratic Party’s special FTA Committee worked to harmonize opinions on the content of its final report. This report reportedly includes a presentation of party opinions on the FTA, organized into arguments for rejecting negotiations for additional concessions and arguments for full renegotiation. Lawmakers have compared strengths and weaknesses of both strategies.
An official with the special committee said, “Because of benefits such as the ability to maintain consistency with the past party platform and the possibility of highlighting the administration and ruling party’s responsibility for additional concessions and linking that to a battle against the future ratification bill, the weight inevitably shifted in favor of the argument against renegotiation.”
On the arguments for full renegotiations, which has been espoused by Supreme Council members Chung Dong-young and Chun Jung-bae, among others, one benefit that was reportedly brought up was the possibility of emphasizing clarity as an opposition party and establishing a foothold for opposition solidarity. However, a number of committee members reportedly expressed concern that a change in party platform could lead to the burden of a loss of trust and generate criticisms of a “political offensive with an eye toward an FTA failure.”
During the conversation, which lasted thirty minutes in the morning and was made at South Korea’s request, Obama said that he would send a working group on FTA negotiations if possible and that he hoped an agreement would be reached before the G-20.
With this, observers predict that negotiations between the two countries’ trade ministers will pick up speed. Analysts say there is a strong chance the KORUS FTA amendments will be completed at a Nov. 11 South Korea-U.S. summit at the Cheong Wa Dae.[..]