South Korea will hold a second public hearing on the free trade agreement with the United States, the trade ministry said Thursday, after the first gathering was disrupted by angry farmers and livestock breeders.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will host the public hearing on Friday at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul. Policymakers, trade experts and citizens will take part in the talks to discuss issues related to the five-year-old deal.
The ministry last week held talks with representatives from the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to collect their opinions. Farmers and livestock breeders lambasted the Nov. 10 hearing, claiming the gathering did not reflect the damage they had suffered.
In the earlier hearing, the ministry unveiled an economic feasibility study that claimed a possible amendment to the KORUS FTA is not likely to have a visible impact on the South Korean economy because the two countries have already scrapped tariffs in many sectors.
The study didn’t disclose detailed figures on each sector due to worries it would reveal South Korea’s strategies before entering full-fledged renegotiations with the US.
The ministry said it will reflect the opinions of all sides when crafting its strategy and will notify parliament of its intention to renegotiate the deal. This process will wrap up the domestic procedures needed for opening talks.
The US administration has to send a letter notifying Congress that it intends to launch FTA negotiations in 90 days. It must also hold public hearings and disclose its goal 30 days prior to official talks. (Yonhap)