Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. If you have a question that is not answered below, please send an email to info@uskoreaconnect.org.

 

 

BUSINESS QUESTIONS

Q: If my product stops in another country while being shipped from the U.S. to Korea or Korea to the U.S., is it still covered under the FTA?

Answer: Under the Rules of Origin of the FTA, whether the good was transshipped through another country is not relevant to whether it is entitled to preferential treatment, assuming it remains under the control of local customs officials. What matters under the agreement is where the good was produced (see article 6.1).

If the good in question qualifies for preferential treatment before it arrives in another country and is not altered and never leaves a bonded warehouse, it still should qualify for preferential treatment. In general, provided no alterations to the good itself are made in transit, the fact that the good was transshipped through another country should not matter. However, if the good is altered in another country in any way, it likely removes it from qualifying under the FTA.

Q: How do I know if my product falls under the KORUS FTA?

Answer: In most cases, a good wholly obtained or produced entirely in either Korea or the U.S. should fall under the rules of the KORUS FTA. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea has created a step-by-step checklist for U.S. and Korean companies to help them through the process of trading under the KORUS FTA. Please visit our step-by-step guides for more information.

Q: Where would I find a blank copy of a Korea-US Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin?

Answer: Korea Customs has released an optional customs form for Korean companies looking to import goods under the FTA, available here. Additionally, U.S. Customs has provided a list of the elements that must be included in any certificate of origin submitted, available here. Under the FTA, no standard form is mandated., though certain information, as indicated in article 6.15 of the agreement, may be requested by customs.

Q: What information is needed to fill out the certificate of origin form?

Answer: Under the FTA, there is no standard required certificate of origin. Article 6.15 provides the information that must be provided to be eligible for preferential treatment, but the agreement allows the importer to supply that information however they choose to convey it. Under Article 6.15, to receive preferential treatment you must be prepared to provide:


  1. The name of the certifying person, including contact or other identifying information

  2. The importer of the good (if known)

  3. The producer of the good (if known)

  4. The exporter of the good (if different from the producer)

  5. A description of the good and its tariff classification according to the Harmonized System

  6. Information demonstrating that the origin of the good qualifies it for preferential treatment

  7. The date of the certification

  8. The time period that the certification covers

Q: How are companies required to fill out the “preference criterion” field in the optional form provided by Korea Customs?

Answer: The preference criterion box is meant to indicate how the good qualifies for preferential treatment under article 6.1 of the FTA. If a good that qualifies in accordance with Article 6.1(a), you would write ‘WO’ in the preference criterion box, if a good qualifies in accordance with Article 6.1(b), you would write ‘PSR’ in the preference criterion box and if a good qualifies in accordance with Article 6.1(c), you would write ‘PE’ in the preference criterion box. For more information on article 6.1, see the FTA text, here.

Q: What industries will be affected by the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

Answer: The KORUS FTA partnership will have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the overall U.S. economy by boosting U.S. exports to Korea and increasing the U.S. GDP. However, the Agreement will provide significant reductions in tariffs on industrial and agricultural products and includes state-of-the-art commitments in intellectual property rights, investment, transparency, competition policy, e-commerce, and services.

Q: What resources are available to me if my business wants to take advantage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

Answer: Businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available on U.S. Korea Connect. If you are interested in exporting or importing under the agreement, we developed a series of step-by-step guides available in our Issues & Answers section. You can also join Business Connect, a special network for businesses to connect while receiving exclusive access to trade information and data, invitations to events, and opportunities for visibility.

Additionally, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, your local Korean consulates or any of the groups listed on the Local Resources page for information or assistance.

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: What is the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

Answer: The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is an international partnership designed to promote the free flow of products and services between the United States and Korea. This new element of our economic relationship will spur business growth, create jobs, generate new markets for U.S. goods and services, and strengthen an important strategic alliance.

Q: Who can take advantage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

Answer: The KORUS FTA lowers the barriers to exporting goods, services and ideas, encouraging a free flow of exports between the countries that benefits both businesses and consumers. Businesses in the United States and Korea will have expanded opportunities to grow and access to a much greater pool of consumers in both countries. The agreement will also benefit consumers, who should see lower prices.

Q: What is the history of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

Answer: The United States and Korea have maintained a long and mutually beneficial relationship built on respect and trust. The two countries began discussions in 2006, which laid the foundation for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. In June 2010, President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak expressed renewed commitment to the free trade agreement, stating that they would direct their respective governments to resolve any remaining obstacles to the agreement by November 2010. In the fall of 2011, the United States Congress and the Korean National Assembly approved the agreement. The Agreement was entered into force on March 15, 2012. A detailed KORUS FTA timeline can be found on our History page.

Q: When did the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement enter into force?

Answer: The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) entered into force on March 15, 2012.

Q: Does the United States have a good relationship with Korea?

Answer: The United States and Korea have maintained a long and mutually beneficial relationship built on respect and trust. The robust economic relationship and solid alliance shared by Korea and the United States is built upon the shared values of freedom and democracy, the principle of free and open markets, and human rights.

The U.S.-Korea relationship began with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1882. It was Korea’s first treaty with a Western nation. Korea chose to sign it because it viewed the United States as the most fair-minded country in the world. This image still remains in the minds and hearts of the Korean people.

Korea is a vibrant democracy, a staunch ally of the United States and a major commercial center in East Asia. The U.S.-Korean alliance has been instrumental in Korea’s economic development and remains the bedrock of Korea’s political and economic policies. Through the KORUS FTA, Korea will provide America with a strong partner in an increasingly important region.

 

FACTS & FIGURES

Q: How has America’s trade relationship with Korea grown?

Answer: The United States and Korea have maintained a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Over the years, the two countries have increased exports and imports, services and investment in one another.

The United States has consistently been one of Korea’s top 10 import and export partners. In 2011, Korea was the United States seventh largest trading partner, and the United States was Korea’s fourth largest. With the implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, there are exciting opportunities to increase trade between the countries and further strengthen their relationship

Q: What are America’s top exports to Korea?

Answer: America's top exports to Korea include computers and electronics, chemicals and machinery. In 2011, the United States exported $43.5 billion worth of goods to Korea.

Q: What are America’s top imports from Korea?

Answer: America's top imports from Korea include computers and electronics, transportation equipment and machinery. In 2011, the United States imported $56.6 billion worth of goods from Korea.

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