Clashes outside S.Korea assembly over U.S. trade deal

SEOUL (Reuters) – Riot police used water cannon to disperse protesters outside South Korea’s national assembly on Thursday amid a deepening political standoff over the ruling conservatives’ final push to seal a trade deal with the United States.

About 2,000 people rallied outside parliament where members of a small far-left party have barricaded themselves in a committee meeting room to block a debate on a bill which would clear the way for final approval of the free trade agreement (FTA).

The FTA, which some studies say could boost $67 billion two-way trade between the allies by as much as a quarter, was approved by the U.S. Congress last month and signed into law by President Barack Obama. It had been expected to sail through the South Korean parliament where the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) has a majority.


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