Opposition to South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA)

The parliament was heading for another showdown after opposition parties announced Wednesday they were joining forces to block the parliamentary ratification of the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), charging that the government has made too many concessions in the latest round of talks.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP), splinter Democratic Labor Party (DLP) and other minor blocs reached a consensus, according to Cha Young, the DP’s spokeswoman.

Opposition leaders said they will continue talks to discuss a concrete action plan after the government officially announces the outcome of the FTA negotiations, expected as early as Wednesday.

Trade ministers of the two countries are said to have nearly completed their additional talks on the FTA, signed in 2007 and awaiting legislative approval. The pending issues mostly concern complaints by the U.S. auto industry about South Korean tax and regulatory policies, which it blames for low American car sales in the local market. Washington also wants Seoul to resume full import of American beef.

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