A recent Chosun Ilbo article examines the intersection of nationalism and economic growth in U.S.-Korea FTA debate.
The American auto industry is saying that Korean consumers would benefit from liberalizing trade restrictions on US automobiles; allowing more competition will increase the competitiveness of Korean cars. Interestingly, the FTA would include Japanese cars assembled in the US to enter the Korean market under the same parameters as American cars. In this article, the American CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce poses the question: Will Korean nationalism hinder the Korean economy?
There are myriad forms of expressing nationalism and purchasing power is one with very sharp teeth. In class we have learned of buy Korean campaigns that emerged during the Japanese Colonial period as an expression of early Korean nationalism. Given how much Korean nationalism plays in all aspects of contemporary life in Korea and has been a driving force in the development of the Korean economy, is nationalism preventing the FTA from gaining acceptance? If the FTA goes through, would another buy Korea campaign be a stronger expression of nationalism?
If prices and quality are comparable, I wonder if Koreans will continue to purchase Korean cars as an expression of nationalism that is rooted in anti-Japanese and anti-American sentiment.