Seeking to boost the economies of both countries, trade representatives of the United States and South Korea have finalized the provisions of a package which would resolve outstanding issues with the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
The agreement, which eliminates or reduces tariffs going both ways, represents an historic opportunity for both countries to increase exports, support job creation, and spur economic growth. The agreement provides an opportunity for increased South Korean exports to the U.S. and lowers the cost of agricultural and food products exported to South Korea from the U.S.
This move will not only open the market to U.S. farmers, it will benefit South Korean consumers, who pay some of the highest food prices in the world, in part because of protective tariffs. In all, the agreement will eliminate tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years.
As a result of this agreement, American merchandise exports to Korea are projected to increase by $11 billion, while merchandise imports from Korea would rise nearly $7 billion.
U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak praised the accord as "significant because it lays the groundwork for a 'win-win' relationship by reflecting the national interests of Korea and the United States in a balanced manner."
President Obama said, "I am very pleased that the United States and South Korea have reached agreement on a landmark trade deal between our two countries. ... This deal is a win for American workers. ... It will contribute significantly to achieving my goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years.
"This deal is also a win for our ally and friend South Korea. They will gain greater access to our markets and make American products more affordable for Korean households and businesses -- resulting in more choices for Korean consumers and more jobs for Americans," he said.
Eliminating trade barriers and improving access for the products and services of businesses, farmers, and manufacturers in foreign markets is vital to bolstering the economies of both countries.