The recently concluded a landmark free trade agreement between the US and South Korea is drawing intense criticism in both countries. U.S. automakers, farmers and lawmakers have expressed dissatisfaction to the trade agreement the Bush administration worked out with South Korea, signaling it may stumble upon a rough road toward congressional approval. In South Korea, labor unions and farmers have opposed the agreement on the ground that it has practically opened rice market and there are strong chances that it would result in growing unemployment. The FTA will abolish some 90 percent of each side’s tariffs on industrial goods immediately, and the remainder will be phased out over three to 15 years. Both the countries would immediately lift tariffs, currently 8 percent in South Korea, 2.5 percent in the US, on auto parts and all cars with engines smaller than 3,000 cc. However, tariffs on larger models will be phased out gradually. According to the agreement, Seoul will change its tax structure on autos based on engine size, which will make US models cheaper in the South Korean market. Focusing on the other crucial bone on contention, South Korea has agreed to eliminate its 40 percent tariff on US beef over 15 years and start importing instantaneously after the World Organization for Animal Health gives report of its final review on the status of the US in combating mad cow disease. In addition to it, at one hand experts are of the view that South Korea has not opened its rice market substantially and it will not benefit US. But in Korea farmers are arguing that the deal has practically opened its rice market to the US. The Seoul- based Korea Rural Economic Institute has said in its report that South Korea`s agricultural production would fall off by as much as the corresponding to 2.1 billion US dollars annually. The report further suggested that the production of beef, chicken and other meat may suffer severely as US imports gain ground. A completely open South Korean market for US beef is expected to be worth around a billion per year. Analysts are also arguing that the free trade agreement could derail South Korea’s universal health care system. The deal prohibits South Korea from buying generic and lower-priced medicines in place of brand name products produced by the pharmaceutical industry in the US. This provision would potentially drive the cost of health care coverage so high the South Korean government may be compelled to cancel it. The South Korean economy, the world’s 11th-largest economy, is immensely dependent on exports. The total volume of its external trade constitutes 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy has said that South Korea’s exports to the United States will grow as much as 15.1 percent. In the meanwhile, Congressional Democrats have threatened to nullify the Bush administration’s free-trade deal with South Korea unless the Asian tiger does more to open its market to U.S. automobiles and beef. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, has bluntly threatened to block the deal, saying negotiators failed to ensure sufficient access for US beef exports. Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group have expressed that they will oppose the free trade agreement between the US and South Korea when it goes before the Congress later this year. In addition to it, the US traders are also dissatisfied over the fact that rice segment has been not opened up completely. The US lobby has argued that around half of South Korea’s farmers grow rice, and duties on rice imported into Korea make its price about four times that of the world average. Further, according to a deal, signed as part of trade negotiations in the early 1990s, Korea was allowed to preserve a quota on imports of rice, and the clause will remain in force.