Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today applauded negotiators from the United States and Korea for working together to develop and sign the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The Council urged Congress to consider and approve the agreement as soon as possible.
“The Korea FTA is one of the most commercially meaningful agreements ever reached by the United States,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “With more than $80 billion in goods traded between our two countries last year, the reduction and elimination of trade barriers is critical to expanding trade opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers and workers.”
One key objective of the FTA will be the substantial expansion of market share for U.S. goods and services. Historically, non-tariff barriers to trade in the Korean market have presented challenges for many U.S. companies. The NFTC will be monitoring implementation of the KORUS FTA, once approved, to ensure that it leads to greater market access and exports for U.S. companies.
“South Korea is both an important strategic ally in Asia and a beneficial trading partner,” said Mary Irace, NFTC Vice President of Trade and Export Finance. “It is our hope and expectation that the FTA will lead to major new market opportunities for American farmers, manufacturers, service providers, and the workers that drive these sectors of the U.S. economy.”
With an economy of $1 trillion, Korea is the United States‘ seventh largest trading partner. Similarly, the United States is Korea‘s third largest trading partner, importing roughly 17 percent of Korean exports worldwide. Of the $80 billion in two-way trade in 2006, U.S. exports to Korea totaled $32.5 billion.
The U.S. Congress must now ratify implementing legislation for the agreement. Once enacted more than half of all current U.S. farm exports to Korea will be traded duty-free. In addition, within three years of enactment, the agreement will result in the duty-free trade of nearly 95 percent of U.S. and Korean consumer and industrial exports.
“The NFTC commends both governments for concluding this comprehensive and high-standard agreement and we look forward to working with Members of Congress and the Administration to ensure its prompt passage,” concluded Reinsch.
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.