American politics blogger, Marcy Wheeler, normally someone I respect, and pundit Dylan Ratigan, appear to be under some serious misunderstanding of the proposed ROK-US free trade agreement. In an interview on Luke Russert’s show, Ratigan stridently insisted that passage of the FTA will mean the importation into the US of products made via North Korean slave labor. That set my lie-dar ringing, and it is of completely false.

As the State Department says, “goods of North Korean origin may not be imported into the United States either directly or through third countries, without prior notification to and approval from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.” The Korea-US Trade Partnership points out that products made at the Kaesong Industrial Complex are ineligible for importation into the US. It took me two minutes to pull up these sources.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that an American politician or pundit has said something dumb about Korea. I think I’m going to make them a new feature of Korea Beat. Look for the tag “dumb things foreigners think”.

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