ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on October 19th, 2009 at 2:41 am

South Korea & EU Sign Free Trade Deal

It will be interesting to see if this FTA does put any pressure on the President to get a deal done with the South Koreans or not?  I doubt it:

President Barack Obama faced increased pressure on Thursday to win approval of a free trade deal with South Korea after the European Union locked up its own pact with Asia’s third-largest market.”We have concluded our negotiations with the EU, which has almost a similar economic size as the United States,” South Korean Ambassador to the United States Han Duk-soo said.

“President Obama will visit Korea in November and we hope we will make some progress before that” to resolve concerns blocking approval of the U.S.-Korea free trade pact, Han said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation.

The United States and South Korea signed their free trade deal more than two years ago. But U.S. lawmaker concerns over beef and auto trade with the longtime ally that borders North Korea has blocked approval of the agreement.

Many U.S. lawmakers argue the free trade pact fails to tear down “non-tariff barriers” that keep out American cars. Others want Seoul to remove remaining barriers to U.S. beef imports that stemming from the discovery mad cow disease in the United States several years ago.

Since then, South Korea has continued negotiating free trade deals. It initialed a pact with the European Union on

Thursday expected to go into force by the middle of 2010 and is currently in talks with Canada, Mexico and Peru.

“We would like to be the hub of free trade agreements in East Asia,” Han said, citing a study that U.S. companies could lose 380,000 jobs to competitors in the EU and Canada if the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement is not approved.  [Reuters]

Does anyone know if there was even one protest of the Korea-EU FTA because I sure cannot remember any?  Even better yet, does anyone know if European beef is allowed to be imported under this FTA?

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  • Tom
    11:14 pm on October 18th, 2009 1

    We can forget about the FTA with the US, as long as the US side insists on the auto quota system which would force Korea to import 700,000 American cars (Americans have included 150,000 GM-Daewoo cars to this figure) in exchange for Korea being allowed to sell 700,000 cars in America. That would practically mean half the Korea's auto market will have to be made up by American cars. And since Korea's eliminating all taxes on American cars aren't good enough for Americans, it's the same thing as the US saying, "we don't want FTA with Korea".

    As for the beef issue, it's a non issue. US beef sales in Korea is struggling at the moment, what would change if over 36-month beef are allowed into Korea? Not much other than US beef prices dropping further and still nobody buying them other than American expats.

    Korea shouldn't even dwell on the FTA with the US – most Americans don't even want FTA with Korea. Now that FTA EU is signed, Korea should concentrate its FTA negotiations with India, Brazil, and China. I heard Korea is close to signing with India.

    2:05 am on October 19th, 2009 2

    No FTA with Korea would be a good thing. I agree with you Tom.

  • The Antikorean
    2:32 am on October 19th, 2009 3

    The majority of koreans have a nasty habit of thinking that their goods should be allowed in other nation's markets, but not the other way around. It's quite evident. They always want their cake and eat too. Lonestar proved that foreign businesses shouldn't be allowed to make a profit in korea.

    Go to HiMart and see how many nonKorean electronics brands there are. Sure there are a few things, but not much.

    For the most part, koreans don't like foreigners and foreign businesses in their country. Sure people work for foreing companies, but when it comes to their job and korea nationalism… If you don't believe me Tom, ask yourself why foreigners don't own more businesses (and land) like koreans do in other countries.

    No one should sign an FTA with korea, no one. US beef sales are not struggling btw Tom. Did your senior tell you that? Probably. the aussies have more of a market share, but that doesn't mean US beef is struggling as Tom insinuates.

    If it wasn't for koreans being allowed to sell low quality products like Samsung in the US and, to a lesser extent, other countries, korea would be nothing. Something else koreans owe the US.

    Ask a korean why Samsung is good and they'll tell you it has great "after serbiceu." Why would you have to worry about that unless you bought some cheap quality korean goods?

    There were no protests people because it had nothing to do with the US. Less korean products in the US markets is good. They feel the same way about their markets yet koreans don't realize how unimportant their country is really.

    Maybe the US should start acting like korea in regards to trade with korea. I'd love to see what koreans would do.

    It's time the American people were educated about the hypocrisy of the majority of koreans and then with any luck, they would demand the US leave korea and leave everything about korea, to koreans. Maybe Tom could be the president of korea?

  • The AntiAmerican
    3:01 am on October 19th, 2009 4

    No one should sign an FTA with Korea? Who says? Americans?

    So who are you to tell other countries what to do and what not to do?

    Obviously not many countries are listening to you.

    You claim Koreans don't buy foreign goods, then at the same time claim

    US beef is selling like hot cakes. Contradictions?

    Koreans don't owe you anything.

    Cheap quality Samsung's.. you can't even afford them since you can't

    afford to buy anything due to overspending on guns and Walmart.

    4:40 am on October 19th, 2009 5

    That sounds good too tom :) Korea is dropping off the trade map with the US. Lets hope that it moves to 10th place for both countries. Korea is no more important then Bangladesh.

  • Tom
    8:21 am on October 19th, 2009 6

    With the worthless US currency sinking (look again today with its massive decline) the way it is lately, Americans won't be able to afford anything, let alone buy from Korea. So, either way, it really doesn't matter at all!

  • Tom
    10:08 am on October 19th, 2009 7

    While the US market is important for Korea, its importance has been waning. US is now only the fourth largest market for Korean products after EU, China, and Japan.

    It’s not really critical for Korea to have the FTA with the US, as Korea has successfully diversified their trade with other nations. No big deal.

  • Tom
    2:01 pm on October 19th, 2009 8

    "why protect a nation that can’t / won’t do business with us?"

    Excuse me, but it's the US who are holding up the FTA with Korea. Most of Koreans are actually in favor of the FTA with the US. The Americans on the other hand.. have all kinds of reasonings (other then the already mentioned) for not signing the FTA with Korea.

    Some of the reasons that I've read include:

    1) US shouldn't deal with countries like Korea that exploit their workers with their slave labor with no union rights as the great United States.

    2) US shouldn't deal with countries that pollute indiscriminately, unlike the great US where the environment is perfectly protected.

    3) US shouldn't deal with countries like Korea which uses child labor.

    4) US shouldn't import more cheap quality dangerous goods from Korea – there's enough Walmarts as it is.

    5) US has been losing tons of jobs which have moved to Korea, the FTA will just speed up more job relocation out of the US and into Korea.

    6) Korea is a filthy poor country full of smelly hicks, they don't have the money to buy high quality American goods like US cars and US made high tech appliances.

    2:48 pm on October 19th, 2009 9

    "Korea is a filthy poor country full of smelly hicks,"


    2:51 pm on October 19th, 2009 10

    Funny thing about the dollar. When people lose faith in the dollar, they ask themselves about the failure of other currencies, like….. the won. LOL

    Then they dump the won. LOL

    If the dollar fails, the won fails even faster and worse.

  • Chris in South Korea
    5:56 pm on October 19th, 2009 11

    I might expect such vitriol from Dave’s, not ROK Drop…

    Korea’s much like Japan in the protectionist phase of growth; the biggest difference is that with trading partners like the EU and most of Asia, they might not need the US. That raises an uncomfortable conflict between economic priorities and military priorities – why protect a nation that can’t / won’t do business with us?

  • theotherguy
    7:42 pm on October 19th, 2009 12

    Yeah lately Rokdrop's been infested with quite a few obvious trolls who do nothing but post antagonistic comments with the explicit purpose of pissing people off. Problem is the mod's don't seem to have the time, or don't seem to care to police them up.

    Problem is Korea has many non-tarrif trade barriers in place to prevent foreign business interests from gaining too big a foot hold. The final price on anything foreign here is pretty ridiculous and relegates most of it to the rich only. First example is designer brand clothing from the US. A pair of designer cut Levi's jeans cost USD $50 ~ 60$ in the states, but that exact same pair costs KRW 250,000 ~ 300,000 won. No sh!t you can go to the nearest Lotte department store, check out the Levi's and other foreign brand sections, write down the model numbers and prices. Then check the PX or and see the going price, its on the order of 3 ~ 4 times difference. And before someone mentions its the outlets, their wrong its not. I asked some friends of mine who work at and manage those department stores why the goods costs so much. They showed me the "luxury tax" that is applied to almost all foreign goods. Its 20 ~ 50% depending on the item, this tax is then used to subsidize various business's.

    They do the exact same thing to imported automobiles. Good friend of mine work's at a BMW dealership, I got to check the going prices of locally purchased BMW's (the ones rich Koreans like to show off). I was amazed, their twice as expensive as what you get in the states. Again I asked why and if Korean dealers pay more to BMW for the cars. They pay the exact same price that US dealers pay, but there is two tax's, first being an hefty import tax, second being that luxury tax that I'd noticed before. Combined they end up jacking the car cost to double, and that is before they calculate the additional payment for the engine size. I asked about the luxury tax as it applies to Samsung / Hyundai / Kia and was told that they have a much lower rate because their local brands and that some sports models (Genesis / Forte) don't have a luxury tax on them at all.

    For anyone who even wants to attempt to debate this with me, I experienced it first hand when I purchased my BMW. I purchased it direct and had it imported from Germany. I paid the dealership rate but had to wait 3~4 months for it to be manufactured and shipped to Korea and had to pay upfront in cash. When it got to customs, they wanted to charge me the full import + luxury tax + engine fine, it was more then the original price on the car. Luckily A3 visa holders are exempt from those taxes, but I had to do quite a bit of paperwork and fax them all to Incheon. It took almost two weeks to get my car cleared from customs.

    This extra price is why there is such high social status attached to foreign cars / branded clothing. To purchase them is a ridiculous amount of money, and such whomever has them must therefor have that money (or their family does). Owning a BMW / Lexus / Audi / Mercedes / or Chevy is considered a badge / status symbol of someone who is successful and/or has connections. Funny part is, when the locals purchase those cars, they tend to purchase the big models with the smallest engine possible (to avoid the big engine fine). Meaning lots of nice looking cars, but very few are actually fast.

  • Capt American
    3:41 pm on October 20th, 2009 13

    That is a blatant lie tom!! 4th largest market for Korean goods? Thats so off it not even funny. America imports more korean goods than Japan,and China combined!! Look it up on!! Before the Han-EU FTA American accounted for 68% of Korean Exports!! 68%!!!!!!!! That's as recently as 2008. If you look at the 60 years prior it would be closer to 85% of all korean good leaving Korea were headed for the U.S, and that is no exaggeration. The korean economy was built on the special access Korean exports have to the American market, and it is sustained by that special access.


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