Among other things, U.S. negotiators want increased access to the world's 10th largest economy for American farm goods. But South Korean farmers adamantly oppose any reduction in protections for their products -- especially rice.
Nearly 30,000 South Korean farmers, workers, students and others rallied in Seoul on Wednesday against the bilateral agreement. Some of the demonstrators clashed with riot police that had blocked off the city's main street.
According to a Seoul-based polling agency, South Koreans are divided on how they feel about a free-trade agreement with the U.S. Nearly 44 percent of respondents said an agreement would eventually benefit the national interest, while almost 47 percent said a deal would contribute nothing at all.