South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) Negotiations [Updated March 19, 2007] [open pdf - 197KB]
From the Summary: "On February 2, 2006, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Portman and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong, announced their two countries' intention to negotiate a Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA). The announcement came after many years of official and unofficial discussions of the feasibility of concluding an FTA. The reaction in the United States to the negotiations has ranged from bipartisan support to some skepticism and opposition. […] Each country enters the negotiations with some key objectives. The United States seeks, among other goals, the reduction or elimination of South Korean restrictions on agriculture imports, the resolution of issues affecting auto and pharmaceutical trade, and the reduction in barriers to foreign investment. In addition, the United States has been encouraging stronger South Korean government enforcement of intellectual property rights and discussion of and changes to competition policies that discourage foreign business activity in South Korea. South Korea has been seeking preferential treatment for goods produced by South Korean firms in the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, the inclusion of South Korean residents in the U.S. visa waiver program, discussion of U.S. antidumping policies and practices, and the reduction of U.S. restrictions on maritime services trade. A number of these issues have proved contentious during the negotiations. South Korea is the seventh largest U.S. trading partner, and the United States is South Korea's third largest trading partner. The KORUS FTA would be the second largest FTA in which the United States is a participant and the largest in which South Korea is a participant, representing a major step for both countries in the pursuit of their respective trade strategies. These negotiations could have repercussions beyond the bilateral relationship as well. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33435