Money Matters - Simplified

free trade

S. Korea's Lee toasts free trade pact

Brussels -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said the free trade agreement with the European Union would set a positive example in the financial crisis.

Lee, along with European leaders, attended a signing ceremony for the pact in Brussels. He then said it would stand as an example of meeting the financial crisis with cooperation, rather than protectionism, the Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday.

"As the emergence of protectionism is feared in the process of the world overcoming the economic crisis, I am confident that the South Korea-EU FTA will become an exemplary case in expanding free trade and fostering sustainable economic growth," Lee said.

Free trade deal passes hurdle in Seoul

Seoul -- A South Korean parliamentary committee approved a free trade agreement with the United States, sending the deal to a plenary session for ratification.

The free trade agreement, signed in June 2007, has found opposition in both countries, Yonhap news reported Wednesday.

Before the vote in Seoul, opposition lawmakers held a press conference asking representatives to postpone the vote until lawmakers in Washington appeared more likely to endorse it. They also reviewed concerns over a lack of safeguards for South Korean farmers.

After the vote, Grand National Party officials said the plenary session would be scheduled after a meeting between Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Obama that is scheduled for June.