South Korean President Signs KORUS FTA
November 30, 2011
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak signed implementation legislation for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on November 29, 2011, one week after Korea’s National Assembly ratified the FTA. President Lee Myung-bak also signed fourteen bills revising copyright, patent, customs and other domestic laws in order to bring Korea’s regulations into conformity with the FTA. South Korea’s National Assembly ratified the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by a vote of 151 to 7 during a special Parliamentary session on November 22nd, despite efforts by the opposition to block the vote. Attempts by opposition MPs to physically block the vote, including an opposition party member setting off tear gas in the voting Chamber, failed to stop the vote. Despite support from Korea’s Grand National Party (GNP), which holds an absolute majority in the Assembly, the opposition of minority parties had stalled the legislation at the subcommittee level since June. The GNP holds 169 out of 295 seats in the assembly, which allowed them to pass the agreement without opposition support.
The United States Congress passed implementing legislation for the U.S.-Korea FTA on October 12, 2011, which President Obama signed into law on October 21, 2011. Should both countries meet implementation requirements and conduct an exchange of notes, the Agreement could take effect as early as January 1, 2012.
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