Korea, US likely to conclude FTA talks today
By Kim Tae-gyu
Korea and the United States failed to abide by their self-imposed deadline of wrapping up talks on a free trade agreement (FTA), which was signed in 2007 but has yet to win the approval of parliaments of both countries.
Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Jon-hoon negotiated with his U.S. counterpart Ron Kirk, Tuesday, to narrow differences on such thorny issues as trade imbalance of vehicles and beef imports to little avail.
The two countries decided to hold another round of talks today to keep the ultimate deadline before heads of the close allies meet on Thursday on the sidelines of the G20 Seoul Summit.
“We have discussed the various topics in question very seriously. However, we have yet to find a happy medium,” Choi Seok-young, Korea’s chief negotiator, told a press conference.
“We agonized over automobile issues concerning Korean rules on fuel consumption and emissions. Several possibilities were dealt with at the meeting. We will meet once again tomorrow.”
Choi said that the restrictions on the imports of American beef, which are restricted to meat from cattle less than 30 months old, were not on the table.