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Korea – U.S. Free Trade Agreement
March 20, 2016

The United States has negotiated a comprehensive free trade agreement with South Korea.  The U.S.-Korea FTA will eliminated tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services, promote economic growth, and strengthen economic ties between the United States and Korea.  Once implemented, nearly 95 percent of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products will become duty-free within three years, including many key U.S. exports such as industrial and consumer electronic machinery and parts; auto parts; power generation equipments; the majority of chemicals, medical and scientific equipment; motorcycles; and certain wood products.  Most remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years.

If approved by Congress, Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will provide America’s farmers, ranchers, food processors, and the businesses they support with improved access to South Korea’s market with 49 million consumers.  About $3 billion or almost two-thirds ($1.6 billion) of current U.S. farm exports to Korea wil become duty-free immediately, including wheat, feed corn, soybeans for crushing, hides and skins, and cotton, plus a broad range of high value agricultural products such as almonds; pistachios; bourbon whiskey; wine; raisins; grape juice; orange juice; fresh cherries; frozen French fries; frozen orange juice concentrate; and pet food.

The FTA establishes a stable legal framework for U.S. investors operating in Korea. All forms of investment will be protected under the agreement, including enterprises, debt, concessions and similar contracts, and intellectual property.

Commitments in services will provide U.S. service suppliers with new opportunities and greater assurance of their rights and privileges in the Korean market.  U.S. financial institutions will have full rights to establish to acquire financial institutions in Korea to supply a complete range of their financial services.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s website (Office of the United States Trade Representative) provides links to key FTA documents.