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Korea-U.S. FTA: A Strategic Opportunity for Bipartisanship

February 17, 2010

In an interview with Bloomberg Business Week last Thursday, President Obama stated that he would like to complete pending trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama, but there’s a catch. Although his State of the Union Address provided a potentially powerful strategic rationale for passing these free trade agreements (FTAs) as part of the administration’s effort to double exports over the next five years, the president’s statement in his interview with Bloomberg was actually a step backwards. By adding that “with respect to South Korea, there is some concern that, although the deal was good for our telecommunications and our finance system, that our auto exports to South Korea are still subjected to a lot of nontariff barriers,” the president offered a tactical explanation why his administration has chosen NOT to move forward with the agreement rather than making strategic arguments for why the Korea-U.S. (KORUS) FTA is in the national interest.

Read the full piece originally published on the Council on Foreign Relations blog Asia Unbound.

Scott Snyder directs The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. He can be reached at

View all posts by Scott Snyder

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