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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

Benefits Of The U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement To U.S. Small And Medium Businesses

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

Made in USA Stamp

Expanding exports by America’s small- and medium-sized businesses in order to support well-paying jobs at home is a key priority. The U.S. –South Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS) opens significant new export opportunities for U.S. small and medium enterprises (SMEs). South Korea is the 8th largest market worldwide for U.S. small business goods exports, based on value in 2009. Removing tariff and non-tariff barriers to the sale of American-made goods and services in the South Korean market, and strengthening protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in South Korea, will help U.S. small businesses expand their exports to South Korean buyers.

Thousands of small businesses across the United States export goods to South Korea

Almost 18,000 U.S. small and medium companies exported to South Korea in 2009. SMEs accounted for 89 percent of all U.S. exporters into the South Korea market. In 2009, U.S. small- and medium-sized enterprises exported $8.4 billion in merchandise to South Korea, representing 32 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports to South Korea.

The KORUS agreement will tackle the trade barriers that most affect small businesses seeking to export to this important Asia Pacific market.

  • Tariff reduction and elimination: U.S. small businesses will benefit from reduction and elimination of tariffs on U.S. exports under the KORUS. Tariff cuts alone in the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement are estimated to increase exports of American goods by $10 billion to $11 billion, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. SME exporters accounted for 60 percent or more of all exporters to South Korea in every goods sector (21 sectors). Under the agreement, U.S. exports in key sectors for small business such as electrical/electronic goods, chemicals, and scientific equipment will gain duty-free access to the South Korean market. The Agreement eliminates tariffs on over 95 percent of U.S. exports to South Korea of industrial and consumer goods within five years.

  • New opportunities for service providers: The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement will also open South Korea’s $580 billion services market to American companies, including in areas where U.S. small businesses are particularly competitive such as computer systems design, software publishing, and other information and communications technology services. The agreement targets services barriers that are especially difficult for small businesses, such as requirements for staffing an office in the foreign market before conducting trade.

  • Customs Administration: The KORUS Agreement contains provisions to speed and simplify customs procedures and paperwork, meaning less costs and red tape, which can disproportionately impact small exporters. These commitments include obligations to adopt or maintain simplified customs procedures to facilitate the immediate release of goods, including expedited procedures for express shipments; provide for electronic submission of customs information before a good’s arrival, and allow U.S. exporters to obtain binding advance rulings on matters such as tariff classification, and whether a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment.

  • Government Procurement: The U.S.-South Korea agreement expands U.S. firms’ access to the $100 billion South Korean government procurement market and gives U.S. suppliers rights to bid on contracts to supply more South Korean government ministries, agencies and other central government entities than are covered under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). It will also create new opportunities by reducing the threshold for goods and services to $100,000 for U.S. exporters, including small exporters as well as small suppliers to larger firms. It will also encourage South Korea to adopt the latest and best emerging practices in government procurement, such as the use of electronic procurement tools, which will help U.S. small businesses – and all U.S. firms – more easily participate in government procurement in South Korea.

  • Transparency: Non-transparent foreign regulations can be a costly barrier for U.S. small businesses seeking to export their products. The KORUS agreement includes strong transparency obligations, with commitments that the national government will to the extent possible publish proposed regulations in advance, allow a reasonable opportunity to comment, address significant comments received, publish final regulations in an official journal of national circulation, and provide sufficient time between publication and implementation of the final regulation to allow stakeholders to adjust.

  • Intellectual Property Rights: Strong intellectual property rights protection is an important factor especially for small businesses seeking entry into new foreign markets. The KORUS agreement has state-of-the- art provisions to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, including copyrights, trademarks and patent, for innovative and creative U.S. companies. As an example of benefits that can be especially helpful for small businesses, it provides for an on-line system for the registration and maintenance of trademarks, as well as a searchable database for trademark applications and registrations, and requires transparent procedures for the registration of trademarks.