Proposed U.S.-South-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications [December 15, 2010]   [open pdf - 514KB]

"On June 30, 2007, U.S. and South Korean trade officials signed the proposed U.S.-South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) for their respective countries. If approved, the KORUS FTA would be the second-largest FTA that South Korea has signed to date, after the agreement with the European Union (EU). It would be the second-largest (next to North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA) in which the United States participates. South Korea is the seventh-largest trading partner of the United States and the United States is South Korea's third-largest trading partner. Various studies conclude that the agreement would increase bilateral trade and investment flows. The final text of the proposed KORUS FTA covers a wide range of trade and investment issues and, therefore, could have substantial economic implications for both the United States and South Korea. The agreement will not enter into force unless Congress approves implementation legislation. The negotiations were conducted under the trade promotion authority (TPA), also called fast-track trade authority, that Congress granted the President under the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210). [...] A broad swath of the U.S. business community supports the KORUS FTA. With the modifications in the agreement reached in December, this group also includes the three Detroit-based auto manufacturers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. It still faces opposition from some labor unions and other groups, including Public Citizen. Many U.S. supporters view passage of the KORUS FTA as important to secure new opportunities in the South Korean market, while opponents claim that the KORUS FTA does not go far enough to break down South Korean trade barriers or that the agreement will encourage U.S. companies to move their production offshore at the expense of U.S. workers. Other observers have suggested the outcome of the KORUS FTA could have implications for the U.S.-South Korean alliance as a whole, as well as on U.S. Asia policy and U.S. trade policy, particularly in light of an FTA signed in October 2010 by South Korea and the EU."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34330
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