Negotiators launched the first round of South Korea Free Trade Agreement talks Monday, focusing on broad texts, not tariff reductions this week. Wendy Cutler, U.S. Trade Representative Chief Negotiator for South Korean FTA, reports agriculture will be one of the most sensitive issues debated in the talks.
Cutler says specific products that present a challenge at the negotiating table include rice and beef. In addition there is a whole host of sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.
She adds USTR remains committed to full resumed beef trade;
Protests from South Korean and
Cutler says both sides are "determined to conclude negotiations under current [Trade Promotion Authority] procedures," Cutler says, adding it really calls for conclusion of talks by the end of this year to get a Congressional vote on the deal before TPA expires in June 2007.
The next talks are scheduled in