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Junior lawmakers vow cooperation on FTA

April 18, 2011 - 19:44 By 배현정
Cross-party group aims to have free-trade deal ratified during current session

A dozen junior lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties met Monday and agreed to pass the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement in the National Assembly within the present plenary session.

“Parties shall come up with supplementary means to protect the local agriculture industry from the impact of the FTA and do their best to have the agreement passed,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

They also pledged to refrain from the use of physical violence meant to interfere with parliamentary proceedings, a tendency which has in the past disgraced the lawmaking body.
Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties meet Monday to issue a joint pledge to reach a peaceful agreement on the Korea-EU free trade agreement and refrain from violence in the parliament. (Yonhap News)

They also demanded that the revision of the present National Assembly law be passed, including a filibuster system to allow individual lawmakers to lawfully halt a bill’s passage without resorting to physical violence.

“I shall do my very best to lead the foreign affairs committee into reaching a peaceful agreement on the issue,” said Rep. Nam Kyung-pil of the GNP, who is also committee chairman.

The gathering also expressed its support for Rep. Jungwook Hong of the ruling Grand National Party, who abstained from voting at the foreign affairs and trade committee late last week.

His party thus failed in pushing forward the controversial FTA, which was criticized by the opposition party as insufficient and faulty due to numerous mistranslations.

“The abstention vote was made to express my opposition over the (ruling party’s) move to railroad the bill,” Hong said shortly after withdrawing from the vote.

After the discussion, the lawmakers delivered copies of their joint statement to both the GNP and DP floor leaders.

“The eyes of the 27 EU states are fixed on whether Korea ratifies the FTA or not,” said Kim Moo-sung, GNP floor leader.

“It is a mission for the National Assembly to reach an agreement on this issue as soon as possible and deal with it before the end of this session.”

He also requested that junior lawmakers come up with further realistic problem-solving systems such as the suggested filibuster system.

Kim nevertheless said in a party meeting earlier on Monday morning that Hong’s actions interfered with the normal proceedings of the committee and thus were not entirely appropriate.

By Bae Hyun-jung (