On Thursday, March 15, 2012 the U.S.-Korean Trade Agreement went into effect over five years after the agreement was first negotiated. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke about the impact that KORUS will have on American agriculture.
"This is a monumental day for American farmers and ranchers. Under the new U.S.-Korea trade agreement, two-thirds of the tariffs imposed on U.S. food and agricultural products exported to South Korea are being eliminated," Vilsack said. "Over the next few years, as additional barriers fall and more U.S. businesses market products to Korea's expanding economy, American agricultural exports should grow by $1.9 billion and help support nearly 16,000 jobs here at home. The trade agreement with Korea is the most significant for the United States in decades. Now the world's 12th largest economy, with a GDP of over $1.4 trillion and a population of about 49 million, Korea is already the fifth largest export market for U.S. farm products."
Vilsack says that the timing of the deal is tremendous for America's farmers and ranchers as agriculture is experiencing great strength due to their productivity and resourcefulness. He says strengthening partnerships with growing markets in the Asia Pacific region is integral to the U.S. economy for decades to come.
Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., spoke to reporters Thursday about the free trade agreement, and says that many producers are excited about the possibilities of the new agreement and the access unlike any we have had before.
"Their products come in here relatively free of duty anyway compared to the obstacles that we face in these countries," Blunt said. "My view is that we almost always benefit from any trade agreement but we have to constantly be alert that it continues to be fair trade, not just free trade. I think we are going to see that with Korea and I look forward to seeing what those numbers look like the end of the summer and I think they are going to be significant."