President Trump’s overarching theme is “fair trade,” but fairness resides in the eye of the beholder. U.S. and Korean definitions may well differ. Yet invoking the fairness theme, the Trump administration has two operational goals: seek bilateral trade balance and reciprocity. Trump sees U.S. bilateral trade deficits as prima facie evidence of unfair trade. Trump also believes that the absence of “mirror image reciprocity” furnishes additional evidence of unfair trade–in other words, higher foreign barriers on U.S. exports of a specific product than U.S. barriers on imports of the same product. Applying these tests, Trump tosses the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) into the basket of unfair deals, alongside NAFTA.… Read More
June has been a busy month for strengthening the Korea-U.S. relationship through trade. This month featured three events that brought together U.S. and Korean businesses, policymakers, and thought leaders.
On June 8, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) hosted its 2017 Korea-U.S. Strategic Alliance Dialogue and Congressional Reception. The event featured distinguished speakers including In-Ho Kim, Chairman of KITA; Daniel Ikenson, Director of the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, CATO Institute; Elissa Alben, Senior Trade and Competitiveness Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance; Angela Paolini Ellard, Chief Trade Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee; Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, Petersen Institute for International Economics; Eric Branstad, Senior White House Advisor, U.S.… Read More
On March 15, the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) celebrated its fifth anniversary. Over the past five years, the alliance between our two nations has grown stronger thanks to balanced, bilateral trade, and growing ties between our economies. The KORUS FTA has further opened the Korean market to U.S. goods and services by increasing protections on intellectual property, removing regulations and licensing requirements and reducing or eliminating most tariffs on U.S. products. When the FTA went into force, 80 percent of U.S. exports to Korea of consumer and industrial products became duty free immediately. Today, five years later, nearly 95 percent of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products are duty free and most remaining tariffs will be eliminated by March 15, 2022.… Read More
On behalf of my organization, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, I recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Wellness Information Technology Association based near Seoul to increase business opportunities between Korea and Fairfax County. There are a few really good reasons to do this.
First, there are a lot of similarities between the IT communities in Korea and Fairfax County, which is the business center of the Washington, D.C., area. Both have world-class companies in a wide range of IT sectors, and both areas have many companies that want to explore new market opportunities. For example, there are more than 50 companies from Korea already operating in Fairfax County.… Read More
The fifth year of implementation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) has continued to strengthen the relationship between Korea and the United States through forging deeper economic ties and increasing bilateral trade.
Trade Barriers Eliminated
This past year was an important year for the KORUS FTA. Duties on automobiles, semiconductor manufacturing devices, frozen pork, and lobster were eliminated in 2016. As a result of these tariff reductions, U.S. exports of automobiles increased 41.8 percent for the period of January-September 2016 over the same period in 2015. Additionally, U.S. exports of parts and automotive accessories to Korea also increased by 7 percent during the same time period.… Read More