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Recent News

March 15, 2012
Jobs On The Way: U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Enters Into Force


February 21, 2012
United States, Korea Set Date for Entry Into Force of U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement


February 18, 2012
Update on Implementation of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement


January 25, 2012
Update on Implementation of Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama


January 6, 2012
Update on Implementation of Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama


December 19, 2011
Update on Implementation of Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama


December 5, 2011
Update on Implementation of Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama


October 21, 2011:
Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On Presidential Signature Of Trade Legislation


October 13, 2011
BLOG: Statements Regarding the Congressional Approval of the Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements



FACT SHEET: From Enactment To Entry Into Force: Next Steps On The Trade Agreements


October 12, 2011:
Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On Congressional Passage Of Trade Agreements, Trade Adjustment Assistance And Key Preference Programs


October 3, 2011
U.S Trade Representative Ron Kirk Calls for Swift Passage of Trade Agreements 



August 3,2011:
Kirk Comment on Pending Trade Agreements, Trade Adjustment Assistance 


July 7, 2011:
USTR Kirk Comments Following Trade Markups In Senate Finance, House Ways and Means Committees


July 5, 2011:
Statement from USTR Kirk Regarding Announcement of House Ways & Means Committee Markup


June 30, 2011:
Ambassador Kirk Statement Regarding the Planned Informal Markup in The Senate Finance Committee


June 29, 2011:
INFO: Links on Pending Trade Agreements, TAA, Preference Programs


June 28, 2011:
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Welcomes Next Steps on Pending Trade Pacts, Trade Adjustment Assistance


April 7, 2011:
Statement by Ambassador Demetrios Marantis before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade


February 10, 2011:
Signed Legal Texts Related to the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement 


December 3, 2011:
Statement by the President Announcing the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement  


Important U.S.-South Korea Links

Port of MiamiBenefits for Your Industry: USTR Fact Sheets

This Agreement would eliminate tariffs on over 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years. It will promote the further integration of the U.S. and South Korean economies and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. businesses in the world’s 12th largest economy. Visit USTR's Fact Sheet page to find out how the agreement will specifically benefit your sector.


Tractor in a fieldBenefits for Your Farm: Agriculture Fact Sheets

The United States is already South Korea’s top supplier of agriculture products, including of a broad variety of farm products such as almonds, fresh cherries, hides and skins and corn. The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement creates new opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food processors seeking to export to South Korea’s 49 million consumers, giving American agricultural producers more market access in two ways – by getting rid of tariffs charged when U.S. exports come into South Korea, and by laying out a framework to tackle other barriers to U.S. exports –even those that might arise in the future. Visit the Department of Agriculture's website to find out how the agreement will benefit your sector.


Manufacturing PlantBenefits for Your Sector: Industry Fact Sheets: Benefits for Your Sector

The U.S-South Korea trade agreement creates new opportunities for U.S. manufacturers seeking to export to South Korea in two ways: first, it eliminates tariffs, or duties, charged when U.S. exports come into South Korea; and it addresses non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports – whether by eliminating barriers that are in place today, or by establishing a framework to prevent non-tariff barriers from arising in the future. Visit the Department of Commerce's website to find out how the agreement will benefit your sector.  


AgreementFull Text of the Agreement

Read the full text of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, which is an integral part of the President’s efforts to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets, and supports the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling of U.S. exports in 5 years. You can find the Legal Texts reflecting December 3, 2010 Agreement here. You can also find an updated text of the South Korean-language version of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement here.

Support for the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement

Statements of support for the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement from various elected officials, the business community, and advocacy groups can be found below.


Visit Your Government Trade Partners

Visit USTR's partners across the federal government to learn more about their part in the trade agreement.

Department of Agriculture Seal     Department of Agriculture

Commerce Seal     Commerce Department

Labor Department Seal     Department of Labor

OMB Seal     Office of Management and Budget

Export Import Bank Seal      Export-Import Bank

SBA Seal      Small Business Administration

OPIC Seal      Overseas Private Investment Corp.

USTDA Seal      Trade and Development Agency

State Department Seal      State Department

Meet American Businesses Who Will Benefit From The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement

Trade Agreement Home  •  Jobs  •  New Opportunities  •  Meet American Businesses  •  Key Facts

Small- and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and the primary source of jobs for Americans. These businesses grow faster and hire more workers when they export. Now in effect, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement opens doors for U.S. businesses to export more, create more jobs, and grow their businesses. Below are businesses across the country that will benefit from increased exports because of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement.

 Profile Products Logo

Profile Products LLC
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

In spite of a challenging international economic environment, Profile Products LLC has opened new doors for its business and continues to thrive. Profile Products is a small-business leading in the world of organic and inorganic soil products. Its focus on international sales and expanding its export capabilities has enabled the company to survive and grow under difficult market conditions.

Although Profile Products has already begun to develop a South Korean market, the company sees substantial opportunity for growth. The previous tariffs on Profile’s products, which ranged from six to 14 percent, placed debilitating limits on the company’s sales prospects in South Korea. The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement gives Profile Products the ability to compete on a level playing field with South Korean companies, providing affordable merchandise for South Korean consumers and building an American company that employs nearly 200 people.

“International business is critical to the growth of our company in revenue and job creation. South Korea has been a country where we have developed good partnerships and are poised for substantial growth in sales. The added expense of importation fees puts us at a disadvantage and sales are being lost to other countries,” says Vice President of Marketing Joe Betulius. “My biggest concern is not just the loss of immediate sales, but it opens the door for other countries to develop relationships with our customers that will have long term negative consequences.”

Profile Products has been able to develop opportunities, save jobs, and open new markets through exports to South Korea and other countries. And the company’s international experiences have also helped Profile to develop more advanced and specialized products and to build cross-culture relationships, expanding its business at home and abroad and keeping American workers employed.

PakSense Logo
Boise, Idaho

PakSense, a company that makes time and temperature monitor labels used in food and other industries, credits open trade with the business’s global boom.

PakSense’s business relies on export sales, as well as sales to companies that do international business, to ensure continually expanding markets and a growing customer base. South Korea is one of the company’s most promising opportunities, and the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement means retention of jobs and expansion of the firm’s business into sprawling international markets.

PakSense looks at the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement as having a domino effect; allowing more products to be exported from the U.S. to South Korea expanding sales opportunities for PakSense in the United States and abroad, and the growth of South Korean exports will boost international sales openings. In order to be a viable participant in the market, PakSense needs opportunities like those the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement supports.

“South Korea is an important market, and it’s a good market for us… but when we have unfair taxes it creates problems for us,” says Gerd Uitdewilligen, International Sales Manager for PakSense. “We are competing against other products that could be substituted from the European market, so it’s important we have a level playing field.”

Global trade benefits small companies like PakSense, allowing them to retain jobs within the firm and build stronger businesses. Broadening trade prospects with South Korea gives PakSense the chance to be a strong international competitor. But the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement has even greater far-reaching impacts around the country, giving companies of all sizes the opportunity to expand, to export, and to help grow the American economy.

K & N Engineering
K&N Engineering
Riverside, California

K&N Engineering, a family-owned business in Riverside, California, produces reusable air filters for cars and motorcycles. K&N, which opened its doors over forty years ago, employes over 400 workers and sells its products to consumers and businesses in over 80 countries around the world. K&N’s Made in America exports account for almost a quarter of their overall sales – helping this small business prosper during the economic recovery.

Always on the lookout for new business opportunities and company growth, K&N heavily relies on international trade for success.

The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement is exactly what this business needs to grow and hire new workers, says Kevin Floody, K&N Engineering’s International Business Manager. “The [trade agreement] with South Korea stimulates more exports, which in turn will generate more production and this equals more jobs.”

This agreement eliminates tariffs on over 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years of implementation, allowing businesses across America the opportunity to expand sales in South Korea and grow.

Analytical Graphics Logo
Analytical Graphics, Inc.
Exton, Pennsylvania

For over twenty years, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) has been an international player in software development for professionals in the fields of aerospace, defense and intelligence. The company employs 260 men and women in the United States, and has international offices and partners in more than twenty countries.

AGI exports make-up 15 percent of the company’s sales, and the firm does business around the world from South America to Europe to Asia. South Korea especially presents tremendous potential for growth to the company.

AGI has worked closely with the Department of Commerce and other government agencies to develop a significant presence in international markets with a solid reputation for high-quality service. The  U.S.–South Korea trade agreement provides AGI with additional opportunities in this rapidly growing market.

Although this company currently exports to Korea duty-free, the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement still offers AGI and all other technology companies’ intangible benefits.

AGI is a vocal supporter of the Intellectual Property Rights and Enforcement chapter of the trade agreement. Under this chapter, South Korea has promised to uphold vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights of U.S. companies. Increased enforcement of these rights is good for the protection of intellectual property for everyone. AGI also supports the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement for the positive light it shines on general exports of American technologies and the promotion of the general partnership of the two countries.

The expansion of AGI to more and more countries has led the company to hire more staff to support the higher volume of international sales. In fact, at AGI, jobs focused on global markets have grown from 6 percent of the company’s employees to 11 percent.

These factors contribute to AGI’s enthusiasm for the U.S.–South Korea trade agreement, which has the potential to create even more opportunities for the company to increase international sales and support new jobs.

Dixie Group Logo
The Dixie Group
Atlanta, Georgia

Since 1920, the Dixie Group has been manufacturing high quality carpets and rugs to residential and commercial customers. Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Dixie Group manufactures its products here in the United States.

From its base in Tennessee and Alabama, the Dixie Group exports to more than 35 countries, including South Korea. In fact, ten percent of Dixie’s commercial sales are from foreign customers, and sales can increase with more market access and lower tariffs.

South Korea currently charges Dixie a ten percent tariff on its nylon and wool carpeting upon entrance onto South Korean ports – making Dixie’s products less competitive. That’s why the Dixie Group is excited for the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement because it eliminates all tariffs on its nylon and wool carpeting products immediately.

What does eliminating the 10 percent tariff mean for the Dixie Group? It means the company now competes on a more level playing field with its South Korean competitors regardless of where the high quality carpet product is manufactured. This gives the Dixie Group more incentive to invest additional time and money in promoting their product into South Korea’s lucrative market.

Robert Munisteri, Director of International Sales, believes that the trade agreement provides the company with extensive opportunities to grow in South Korea, one of Dixie’s most robust export markets.

“Growing our export business is a key part of the Dixie Group’s mid- to long-term strategic plans and a subject on which we are passionate about. We basically have the same goal as President Obama; to double our international/export business in the next two years,” Munisteri says.

As their U.S. domestic market continues to recover, international sales are helping the Dixie Group sustain business growth and support their employees in Tennessee and Alabama. The increased export opportunities that the U.S.– South Korea trade agreement porvide, help the Dixie Group expand their operations enough to hire more people to sustain its growth.

Quality Float Works Logo
Quality Float Works
Schaumburg, Illinois

Quality Float Works is a small company that packs a big punch. Based in Schaumburg, Illinois, this family-owned business designs and manufactures valves and metal float balls that are used to level liquid controls for critical components in the operation of heavy equipment. Quality Float Works’ production capacity and design capabilities gave it the unique ability to meet the needs of companies across many different industries in the United States and abroad. Today, Quality Float Works exports to over 30 countries.

Quality Float Works has been exporting since 1958 and still has yet to break into the South Korean market. There is a demand for quality in the South Korea market, and Quality Float Works knows that its products can meet those demands in the shipbuilding, plumbing, and agricultural industries.

So what are they waiting for? Vice President Jason Speer explained some months ago, “We know that there’s a demand for high quality products from South Korea, but we’re waiting for the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement to pass before we can responsibly invest time and money to promote our product in that market.”

Trade barriers that affect pricing for American goods weaken the competitive advantage Quality Float Works is known for: the ability to custom design a complex integrated system of float balls and valves to each customer’s specifications. International clients often request competing vendors to present their offer in a complete design, manufacturing, and cost proposal that integrates the float balls and valves from the same company. Before the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, Quality Float Works valves were charged an 8 percent tariff - forcing Quality Float Works to present a more expensive project proposal to clients compared to their competitors.

Quality Float Works’ is often considered by South Korean clients because of its reputation for quality but their products are more expensive. However, the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement provides a more level playing field on which to compete. The tariff on valves is now signifigantly reduced. With a more level playing field, Quality Float Works has the opportunity to make sales from South Korea with higher profit margins, enabling it to be more competitive around the world.

Quality Float Works is a vocal supporter of increasing export opportunities for American small businesses.

“Exporting has led us to hire about 30 percent more employees, and we hope to grow that number. We view our employees as family, when we do well, we give back to them. The better and stronger our company performs, the better benefits and wages we can offer,” shares Jason Speer.

Langdale Logo
The Langdale Company
Valdosta, Georgia

The Langdale Company is just one example of how a small business is poised to win the future through trade. The company currently exports their industrial wood products from ten manufacturing facilities in Georgia to Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, and Mexico. For over 35 years, Langdale has exported to different markets around the world, spreading Langdale’s reputation for exceptional service, competitive prices, and an extensive product line. And Langdale has plans to expand into even more global markets.

Even with such a large portfolio of international customers, the Langdale Company has its eye on the South Korean market’s tremendous business opportunities. Bryan Harvey, vice president of sales, sees the South Korean market as a large growth opportunity for his company, but before the trade agreement, barriers to trade limited Langdale’s growth in South Korea.

“The passage of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement eliminates duties, thereby making our products more affordable. This helps increase our export volumes to the South Korea market,” said Harvey.

Although the product that Langdale currently exports to South Korea doesnot receive immediate tariff elimination, this company's long-term growth plans still benefit from lower duties and increased competitiveness from the phase out of Korea’s tariffs on this product under the agreement.

South Korea is our seventh largest trading partner, but before the agreement was in effect, exporting to South Korea currently has a few price tags. American businesses were charged an average tariff of 5.9 percent, which used to reach as high as 12 percent, to export wood and lumber. Estimated duties paid on exports of U.S. wood and lumber to South Korea were over $17 million from 2007 to 2009. However, more than 93 percent of U.S. wood and lumber exports to South Korea by value now receive duty-free treatment in the first three years of implementation of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement.

The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement also allows Langdale the opportunity to export a wider portfolio of existing products to the South Korean market.