Posted by: bklunk | October 22, 2006

Absolute and Relative

U.S. and South Korea Trade Negotiations
Here’s a really good one from E-Lam.

Seoul and US urged to clinch trade deal

The United States and South Korea have recently resumed trade talks. The U.S. are South Korea are trying to negotiate a free trade agreement where the United States would get more access to South Korea’s products such as crops, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles. The sticking point in the negotiations though, is South Korea’s desire to include products manufactured in North Korea in the agreement. The United States refuses to accept that term, and are currently renegotiating the agreement.
If both sides came to an agreement, it could create a stronger alliance between the countries. The United States wants to have more control over the relationship between South Korea and North Korea. Althougn South Korea has said that it has cut off aid to North Korea, money is still going into North Korea through factories producing South Korean products. The trade agreement would call for increased security presence on what is going in and out of North Korea.
I felt that this is an important issue because it touches on a number of different issues. Its primary focus is on free trade with South Korea but it also deals with the issue of North Korea. If the agreement were to go through, it would give the U.S. more control over North Korea’s imports and effectively “starve” North Korea by cutting of some of its income.

Liberals would say “what’s the big deal”? Fewer restrictions on trade are good for everybody. Americans get goods they want at lower prices and Koreans get jobs, etc. Realists seem to be winning the policy debates by concentrating on the relative gains problem of providing North Korea resources it could use to pursue its nuclear weapons ambitions.

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  1. I do not think that the US should agree to include N. Korean goods in this negotiation. Free trade and a solid relationship with South Korea is a good thing. Trading with and putting $$ into North Korea is quite another story. I understand that South Korea is trying to keep an ok relationship with N. Korea..(we would too if they were our neighbor and had nukes pointed in our direction) but they need to understand the the US wants to cooperate with South Korea NOT North Korea. I hope that the US does not budge on this. Trade and control in South Korea would be great but the benifits would not outweigh the consequences if N Korea is included.

  2. I agree with Kelly, the US should not agree to include North Korea in this negotiation. I don’t even think they are considering that. If they include North Korea, then why have sanctions? I think it is very convient how we are opening up trade negotiations with South Korea, just when not too long ago North Korea tested nuclear weapons. It is very startegic to open up trade relations with South Korea. if So. Ko. is an ally then we have better reason an oppertunity to do something about No. Ko.’s nuclear weapons. It would also make it less likely for So. Ko. to ide with No. Ko. and a “one korea”.

  3. I believe that given the United States pretty stubborn attitiude of only entering deals and accepting policies that are in our own best interest; we will not enter into any agreement with South Korea that involves North Korea. This is especially true, now with North Korea testing nuclear weapons and saying that if any country tries to put sanctions on them they will see this as an act of war. I agree with Megan when she said that trade and control in South Korea would be great for not only the United States, but would also benefit South Korea, but the benifits would not outweigh the consequences if North Korea was included. The United States, I believe will stand firm and their position and try to persuade South Korea that it too is in their best interest.

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