Korea-US Free Trade Agreement

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    The head strategist for the Republic of Korea’s ruling party has suggested that Seoul push for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. He argued that a FTA would be a key contributor to the national security and economic interests of South Korea.

    "The signing of a Korea-U.S. free trade agreement is the best policy for Korea, which will secure the continued protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella," Rep. Kang Bongkyun of the Uri party said at a recent meeting.

    This is sound logic. FTAs have historically provided countries with not only economic benefits by expanding potential markets, but security benefits. From a security standpoint, an FTA provides incentive for the U.S. to continue its strategic presence on the Korean peninsula. If there is a strong trade relationship, the U.S. would be acting in its best interests to ensure the security of South Korea.

    Economically, an FTA would serve as a major boost to South Korea’s economy. With the assurance of U.S. protection in the event of hostilities, foreign countries would face less risk in investing in South Korean companies and in increasing economic involvement with the country. Without the U.S. deterrent, South Korea would have never been able to emerge as the economic powerhouse it has become.

    Free trade agreements are not just good economic policies, they are integral to maintaining security in potentially volatile climates.

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