Foreign Ministry voices concerns over transfer of trade affairs
Published : 2013-01-29 20:15
Updated : 2013-01-29 20:15
The Foreign Ministry expressed concerns on Tuesday over a plan by the transition team of President-elect Park Geun-hye to transfer its trade division to the commerce ministry, saying it could hurt overall capabilities in trade negotiations.
The ministry made the comments in an 8-page report submitted to the National Assembly as it is set to lose its 15-year-long jurisdiction over trade affairs, a part of government-wide reorganization plans set by the incoming President Park.
The report, obtained and seen by Yonhap News Agency, said the commerce ministry would have a “limitation” in coordinating overall trade negotiations because it is in charge of the manufacturing industry.
Also, the separation of trade affairs from the foreign ministry would undermine the foreign ministry’s role in providing collaborative efforts in diplomacy and trade, it said.
“In order to deal with sensitive trade issues in a stable manner, it is desirable that the foreign ministry retains the trade division or an independent organization for trade affairs is set up,” the report said.
The scaling-back of the foreign ministry has been an issue since the transition team announced its decision early this month to spin off trade-related functions from the ministry.
The transition team’s decision has drawn some protests from ministry officials, but ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young downplayed them.
“I want to first say that the foreign ministry doesn’t view this government restructuring plan as the issue of turf struggle,”Cho said.
“The separation is a big change for the foreign ministry. Thus, I think the members of the organization can have various views. It seems natural in a democratic society,” the spokesman said.
“However, as I said, going beyond organizational selfishness, the foreign ministry is approaching the issue in terms of how to maximize national interests,” Cho said. “I believe the ministry members should hold discussions keeping this in mind.” (Yonhap News)