Roh instructs cabinet to be fully prepared for FTA ratification

Posted on : 2007-04-03 20:47 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST

President Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday instructed his Cabinet to make the utmost efforts and preparations for parliamentary ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) reached between South Korea and the United States on the previous day.

"We've tided over a key hurdle in the South Korea-U.S. FTA, but are now facing another one -- its ratification by the National Assembly," Roh said in an opening remark at the Cabinet meeting.

"Parliamentary ratification won't be easy to attain. The bottom line is that the government has to persuade the people (to support the deal). But the persuasion itself may not be easy in the face of a constant stream of distortions and groundless logic (by the opponents)," said the president.

He then asked the Cabinet ministers to muster their wisdom and energy to help overcome the hurdles ahead.

Roh presided over the Cabinet meeting after presenting a letter of appointment to new Prime Minister Han Duck-soo who was endorsed by the National Assembly in a 210-51 vote on Monday. Han has been serving as a special advisor to Roh on the FTA.

Referring to the overwhelming vote for Han, the president half-jokingly expressed optimism that the National Assembly will ratify the deal with the U.S.

At the end of the Cabinet meeting, Roh instructed his FTA-related ministers to work out countermeasures on the basis of precise and numerical analyses of industry-to-industry damage.

"Anticipated loss in each industrial sector, as well as the number of the affected businesses and employees, should be specifically compiled and analyzed so that the government can efficiently devise its countermeasures," Roh said.

Following the Cabinet meeting, the president presided over a workshop titled "South Korea-U.S. FTA and the future path of the Korean economy" at his office in the afternoon. The workshop was attended by about 140 top government officials, including the prime minister and all Cabinet ministers.

In a special statement to the nation, Roh said Monday that the FTA will be a "win-win" deal for both economies. The president said real economic benefit was the only motive in his government's push to conclude the deal with the U.S. over the past 14 months, and the South Korean people have sufficient capabilities to overcome the impact of market opening.

He also urged both opponents and proponents of the FTA deal to engage in reasonable and objective discussions.
Seoul, April 3 (Yonhap News)

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