Lost in translation: more FTA embarrassment for S.Korea govt

SEOUL, April 28 (Reuters) - A long-delayed free trade agreement between Washington and Seoul faced more troubles on Thursday after the South Korean cabinet withdrew a bill for its ratification over translation blunders.

It is the third time this year Seoul has been left embarrassed by mistakes in the Korean text of a such a pact after an FTA between South Korea and the European Union has twice been put on hold due to errors.

The government said the South Korea-U.S. agreement will be resubmitted to parliament next month, potentially delaying the process by a few more months.

It faces resistance from the country’s small but powerful farm lobby, which has said the government has done little to provide relief for the expected damage it will suffer due to the pact.

U.S. and South Korean trade negotiators struck a deal in December on the trade pact, which was signed in 2007 but had been held up by U.S. auto and beef industry concerns.

The U.S. Congress has also yet to pass a bill to approve the pact, despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s renewed push for ratification.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Seoul this month that concluding the FTA was a priority for the Obama administration, and it was committed to getting the deal done this year. [ID:nL3E7FH001]

The United States and the European Union are racing against each other to be the first to seal a free trade agreement with South Korea, the world’s 15th largest economy, hoping to get a jump-start on the benefits of increased business deals.

South Korea’s foreign minister said this week he hoped the EU deal could be ratified as early as Friday. The European Parliament approved the pact in February. [ID:nL3E7FQ162] (Reporting by Jeremy Laurence; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)