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South Korea and the United States will hold their first free trade agreement (FTA) joint committee meeting this week to discuss rules and procedures for dealing with disputes and other issues, the government said Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the meeting, slated for Tuesday in Washington, will help set in place a cooperative system to deal with possible disputes and lay the framework for the creation of an informal chief delegates meeting that could assist joint committee talks.
Trade Minister Bark Tae-ho, will lead the South Korean delegation while U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is to represent Washington.
The first round of talks could touch on the investor-state dispute (ISD) clause in the trade pact, even though a separate meeting on the ISD issue is slated for next month, the ministry said.
Some opponents of the trade pact, called the KORUS FTA, claimed this investment safeguard mechanism undermines South Korea's legal independence by allowing U.S. companies to take action against Seoul's policy decisions.
The two countries pushed forward the two-way trade pact by claiming it could fuel economic growth and create more job opportunities.
Seoul said the FTA, which went into effect on March 15, will help push up the country's economy by 5 percent in the long term and create around 350,000 fresh jobs.