SKorean lawmakers ratify EU free trade deal

AP News
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Posted: May 04, 2011 11:10 AM
SKorean lawmakers ratify EU free trade deal

South Korea's parliament has ratified a free trade agreement with the European Union in a one-sided vote pushed through by the ruling party against opposition wishes.

The deal was approved with overwhelming support by lawmakers from the ruling Grand National Party in balloting late Wednesday.

A total of 169 National Assembly members were present and 163 voted in favor. One lawmaker voted against the legislation while five abstained. The assembly has 299 members.

Negotiations to slash tariffs and other barriers to trade began in 2007 and the agreement was signed in October of last year. EU lawmakers approved it by a wide margin in February.