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APS: Dr. Yeongkwan Song

The National Assembly in South Korea recently ratified a free trade agreement with the European Union, completing a process that started after South Korea and the United States came to an initial agreement on the KORUS FTA. Now the KORUS FTA looks to be making its way through the U.S. Congress with hopes of passage by the end of the summer, leaving tie for the National Assembly to vote on it before the presidential campaign season begins in South Korea. These two FTAs have enormous potential to transform South Korea's economy and enhance the economic presence of the EU and the United States in Korea and Asia. But these FTAs also presented difficult negotiations, illustrating how the respective partners approached tarrifs, non-tariff barriers, and the economic effects on important industries like automobiles and agriculture. The Korea-EU FTA and the KORUS FTA make interesting comparisons on how Korea dealt with two bigger economies and the politically sensitive issues that affected ratification of the agreements.

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