Industry by the Numbers

The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) opened a new era of trade in services between Korean and U.S. businesses. Since the KORUS FTA was implemented, the United States trade surplus has been increasing at an average rate of about 14 percent.

In 2015, the United States had a trade surplus of $11.3 billion, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

In 2014, Korea announced a three-year innovation plan that includes boosting the Korean services industry and deregulation of the services sector. Along with the KORUS FTA, this endeavor should serve as a powerful catalyst for growth, creating a clear pathway for service-oriented businesses wishing to expand.

The Importance of the U.S. Services Industry
The services industry is vital to the U.S. economy. Services generate 77.6 percent of U.S. GDP and provide 80 percent of private sector jobs.

Legal Services

  • March 2012 – U.S. firms open offices and provide advice on U.S. and international law.
    March 2014 – U.S. firms form alliances with Korean firms or cooperative agreements to provide advice on Korean law.
    March 2017 – U.S. firms establish joint ventures with Korean firms and employ lawyers qualified to practice Korean law.
  • Already, 26 international law firms, including 21 U.S. firms, have established offices in Korea and 92 foreign lawyers, including 75 U.S. lawyers, are registered as foreign legal consultants, approved from the Korea Ministry of Justice.
  • A similar schedule is in place for accountants and tax consultants.


Professional Services

  • Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. business, professional and technical services exports to Korea increased 51 percent.
  • Both the United States and Korea are working to develop mutually acceptable standards for licensing and certification of professionals services.



  • March 2014 – Foreign firms may own 100 percent of the equity in a supplier of public telecom services.
    March 2015 – Foreign firms may own 100 percent of the equity in a program provider for broadcasting services.
  • Korea’s implementation of this commitment is on schedule.