U.S. cites progress on FTA with South Korea
Friday, March 15, marked the one-year anniversary of the entry into force of the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement and, so far, the White House is pleased with the results.
Notable U.S. export increases occurred in the transportation sector, which experienced a 24 percent increase to $5 billion; sales of “Detroit 3” cars in Korea increased 18 percent, and overall U.S. passenger vehicle exports to Korea increased 48 percent, said Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis.
Chemical exports; exports of private services, including legal services, and travel services, and royalties and licensing fees; and exports of a large number of American agricultural products including fruits, nuts, juices, and wine, have seen significant increases as well, he said.
“USTR will continue to work with our Korean partners to ensure that our companies and citizens in both countries can take advantage of this agreement’s significant opportunities,” Marantis said in a statement.
Exports of U.S. manufactured goods to Korea increased by 1.3 percent in 2012; total U.S. exports to Korea increased by 2.5 percent when exports of American corn and mineral fuel (primarily coal) are disregarded (both of these products experienced a global export downturn due to external global factors like drought and changes in relative energy prices).
The United States and South Korea signed the free trade agreement on June 30, 2007. On Dec. 3, 2010, the countries agreed on new commitments, reflected in letters signed on Feb. 10, 2011 that allowed the U.S.-Korea trade agreement to move forward as they provided new market access and leveled the playing field for U.S. auto manufacturers and workers. Congress approved the U.S.-Korea pact on Oct. 12, 2011, and Korea’s National Assembly approved it on Nov. 22, 2011.
The agreement entered into force on March 15, 2012, and as of today, almost 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports to South Korea, and over two-thirds of America’s agricultural exports, are already duty free. By Jan. 1, 2016, Korean tariffs on more than 95 percent of exports of U.S. industrial and consumer goods to Korea will have been eliminated, USTR noted.