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U.S. rebuffs SKorean proposal on antidumping laws in free trade talks

U.S. rebuffs SKorean proposal on antidumping laws in free trade talks

The United States rebuffed South Korea's request to soften its antidumping laws in a potential free trade deal between the two countries, but left open the possibility of a compromise, a South Korean official said Thursday.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives reported to Congress that Seoul's proposals on the U.S. trade remedy laws would not appear in a final free trade accord, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
But the report left open the possibility of further negotiations on the issue by limiting the rejection only to the proposals "currently being advanced," said Kim Won-kyong, a Foreign Ministry official dealing with free trade talks with the U.S.
Congress requires such a report be submitted at least 180 days prior to conclusion of any free trade agreement, given the "sensitivity" of the U.S. trade remedy laws.
The two countries launched the free trade talks in June, aiming to reach an agreement by the end of the year. But the latest round of negotiations in Montana earlier this month failed to bridge numerous gaps. The antidumping law was a key sticking point.
South Korea wants some procedural changes to the U.S. laws in an effort to minimize the chances of antidumping tariffs against its products. One of its proposals calls for talks between the two sides before the U.S. begins a probe in an antidumping case.
The next round of negotiations, their sixth, will be held in Seoul on Jan. 15-19, Kim said.
Negotiators are under time pressure to complete an agreement because U.S. President George W. Bush's authority to put trade agreements before Congress for a simple yes-or-no vote without any amendments runs out on July 1.
An agreement would slash tariffs and other barriers on a wide range of goods and services from the two nations, which already do US$72 billion (euro55 billion) worth of business a year. If successful, a pact would be the biggest for Washington since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993.
Earlier Thursday, William Oberlin, new head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Seoul, said that the South Korean economy is facing tough challenges, such as rising oil prices, a strong won and North Korea-related risks, and that a free trade deal with the U.S. could help tackle them.
"The successful FTA will not only send compelling economic signals that Korea is open for business, but will also strengthen our political and national security ties as well," Oberlin told a press conference.
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Associated Press writer Hye-Min Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-25 15:50 GMT+08:00