In the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis and the Chinese accession to the WTO, the East Asian countries that have up until now been ambivalent towards regional trade integration have recently begun actively to pursue regional and bilateral trade agreements. The recent start of negotiations between Korea and Japan on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) has spurred much debate among many different groups and financial sectors in Korea. However, the contention of the various interest groups is not necessarily based on an economic rationale. Professor Bark will present the political issues that may emerge during the negotiation of the Korea-Japan FTA and some policy recommendations to reduce the negative effects of the FTA.
Taeho Bark is a professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University. From 1998 he has served as commissioner of the Korea Trade Commission. He has also served as Chair of the Investment Expert Group of APEC, Secretary for Economic Affairs, Office of the President, ROK, and as a consultant at the World Bank.