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Public Statements

United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BERMAN. I thank my friend for yielding.

I rise in support of the Korea trade agreement.

The agreement will lead to increased California exports of manufactured goods, agricultural products and raw materials, thereby creating a large number of new jobs. It will also provide rigorous intellectual property protections for the creative industries in Los Angeles and throughout the Nation.

I would like to use the remainder of my time to address the allegations that the agreement would undermine our sanctions against North Korea. There is no truth to those allegations. Under KORUS, we will continue to enforce our sanctions against North Korea just as we do now.

The first allegation is that the agreement would allow North Korean goods produced at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea or elsewhere in that country to be imported into the United States. I raised this issue with Ambassador Kirk.

His response in writing:

``Neither the rules of origin nor any other provision of KORUS changes U.S. sanctions on North Korea, including the prohibition on direct or indirect importation of goods, services and technology from North Korea.''

He went on to say:

``South Korean firms cannot avoid U.S. sanctions by including parts from North Korea in their exports to the U.S. and claiming preferential tariff treatment.''

The second allegation is that South Korean firms might have recourse against U.S. sanctions targeted at North Korea, either under KORUS or under the WTO. Kirk's response, ``U.S. sanctions are fully consistent with KORUS, and therefore, South Korea would not be able to obtain remedies against U.S. sanctions using KORUS dispute settlement procedures. Nor does KORUS provide South Korea with any recourse to the WTO.''

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Mr. BERMAN. According to the Congressional Research Service, article 2.8.4(a), explicitly permits the U.S. to prohibit imports from a third country, such as North Korea. The fact is, we pass KORUS, our North Korean embargo stands; we defeat KORUS, our embargo stands. There are legitimate issues to debate regarding KORUS, but one should not let a bogus argument determine our vote.

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