U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications [November 30, 2011]   [open pdf - 568KB]

"On October 3, 2011, President Obama submitted draft legislation (H.R. 3080/S. 1642) to implement the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) to both houses of Congress. [...] In South Korea, after a contentious battle, the Korean National Assembly passed the agreement on November 22. It is expected to enter into force in early 2012. The KORUS FTA is the second-largest U.S. FTA (next to NAFTA). South Korea is the seventhlargest trading partner of the United States, and the United States is South Korea's third-largest trading partner. [...] On December 3, 2010, after a series of arduous negotiations, President Obama and President Lee announced that they had reached an agreement on addressing the outstanding issues related to the KORUS FTA. As a result, U.S. and South Korean negotiators agreed, in the form of an exchange of letters and agreed minutes, to modifications to the commitments made in the 2007 agreement. These modifications included changes in phase-out periods for tariffs on autos, a new safeguard provision on autos, and concessions by South Korea on allowing a larger number of U.S. cars into South Korea under U.S. safety standards than was the case under the original KORUS FTA provisions. [...] A broad swath of the U.S. business community supported the KORUS FTA . With the modifications in the commitments reached in December, this group also included the three Detroit-based auto manufacturers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. It still faced opposition from some labor unions and other groups, including Public Citizen. Many U.S. supporters view 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 suggested 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."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34330
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