The National Assembly ratified the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement on Tuesday. Grand National Party Vice Chairman Chung Ui-hwa, who was handed the right to convene the vote by National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae, put the FTA bill to a ballot, and it passed with 151 in favor, seven against and 12 abstentions.
Now the FTA will take effect in January, six years after the two countries signed it. U.S. lawmakers ratified it last month. With the passage of the FTA, Korea and its 49 million people must prepare for a new kind of race with the world’s largest and most advanced market. Whether that will become a blessing or a curse depends on what the government, businesses and workers do. A first step will be safety nets for those whose livelihood could suffer due to the deal.
Wednesday November 23, 2011/ The Chosun Ilbo.