A controversy regarding effectiveness of globalization has constantly existed for a long time. Even if there remain many people and organizations who disapprove of globalization, it’s influence on international economy is obviously accelerating. With the two different points of view, globalization has made various types of controversies all around the world. Currently, the biggest issue related to globalization is clearly the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) ratification between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. The ruling party is taking a position to proceed ratifying the rest of the FTA, asserting that an FTA will bring both countries economic benefits. On the other hand, the opposition party is asserting that an FTA with the USA would be economically selling our own country.
What is an FTA?
An FTA is a treaty between two or more countries reaching an agreement to remove various trade barriers such as import and export tariff, and restrictions of market share. An FTA is basically a treaty that aims at pro-globalization, and eventually the worldwide market will be connected more closely regardless of national borders. As most countries in the world have become more interdependent with each other than ever before, a lot of governments in the world are enthusiastically signing FTAs. In Korea’s case, there are already FTAs with 44 countries (including Chile, Singapore, etc.), a contract with the USA, and talks with 12 other countries including Canada, Mexico, and Australia. The very first FTA in Korea was with Chile in 2004, and current controversial FTA with the USA has been pushed ahead since both countries held the first ‘Pre-operational working level talks’ in Seoul, during February of 2005.
Advocates of the FTA
According to the government, which leads the Korea-US FTA, an FTA is becoming an inevitable stream in world economy which represents the expansion of globalization. Advocates such as congressman Nam Kyoung-Pil and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s chief of negotiation Kim Jong-Hun, insist that since Korea exports more than it imports, Korea’s growth rate will rapidly increase with a Korea-US FTA. Vehicle industry, semiconductor industry are representative examples. Not only that, but foreign capital investment will increase, which should bump up domestic employment. According to them, consumers will also benefit after the abolishment of tariffs when we buy foreign products. In the long term, Korea will be the hub of Northeast Asia by adjusting to the global economy faster than other countries.
Opponents of FTA
On the other side, opponents fear a trap in a Korea-US FTA. They basically think this FTA is only beneficial to the superpower country, the United States. An FTA between economically unequal countries brings severe loss in the long term to the weaker. In this way, opponents believe Korea’s FTA with US will lower domestic competitiveness especially in agriculture products, and most of service industries, which are US’s strengths. Besides, opponents point out so-called ‘Poisonous Clauses’ lie scattered around this Korea-US FTA. Even if people ignore the flaws of the FTA on purpose, that doesn’t mean that it’s not problematic. For instance, a Ratchet clause forbids repeating the contents of treaty even after discovering serious flaws and ISD (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) which allows foreign capital companies can be held at foreign court when legal conflict between the Korean government occurs. Including the Ratchet clause and ISD, there are 12 clauses that opponents point as toxic clauses on this FTA.a plea
What remains to Us
The differences in views regarding South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement are so contrary that it is complex to understand the whole situation because it requires full comprehension of globalization. Not only that, but a fundamental solution for FTA does not even exist. However, although there is not a particular solution and it takes a considerable amount of time and effort, the FTA needs people’s constant attention and effort to make the best result. It is not someone’s problem but it is our own matter which we face right under our nose. In spite of such circumstances, it seems that the youth on campus do not care much about the FTA issue. Even if the controversy around the Free Trade Agreement ratification between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America is not a fragmentary issue, the young, especially university students, should show their active, constant attention and express their own opinions.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >