Agriculture was left out of the renegotiations, which was good news to American meat producers who had more to lose than gain by changing the terms regarding US meat exports.
NAMI president and CEO Barry Carpenter said, “…The agreement reached between the US and South Korean governments not only ensures US meat producers, processors and packers will retain their strong competitive advantage in this vital Asian market, but also affords South Korean consumers continued access to high-quality US meat products they increasingly demand.
“The US is the largest supplier of beef to South Korea and second largest pork supplier,” Carpenter continued. “In 2017, US red meat exports to South Korea reached a record $1.7 billion, up 69 percent since the agreement’s entry into force in 2012. Most US pork products now enter South Korea duty free, and the tariff on US beef, which has been reduced from 40 percent to 21.3 percent, will continue to decline each year until it is eliminated by 2026.
“We are pleased the negotiations did not change the terms for US meat exports and urge that these tariff rate reductions be maintained in any successive amendments to the agreement.
“The future growth of the US agricultural economy, and meat and poultry sector, depends upon a fair and robust trade relationship with South Korea, and we commend the Administration’s efforts to negotiate constructive changes to KORUS that will further strengthen our bilateral relationship.”
US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Republic of Korea Minister for Trade Hyun Chong Kim have agreed on the general terms of amendments and modifications to KORUS and the Republic of Korea’s exemption from steel tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9705.
Negotiators are finalizing the terms of the KORUS, which are subject to domestic procedures in both nations before provisions can be brought into force. The revised agreement addresses issues related to investment, tariffs, trade in automobiles, and trade remedies. Additional progress was made in the areas of pharmaceuticals, customs and textiles to smoothly implement the KORUS.
US Chamber of Commerce CEO and president, Thomas Donahue, also commended Lighthizer and Kim on their efforts and success regarding KORUS renegotiations. Donahue called KORUS, “…our nation’s strongest, most modern free trade agreement, and we are pleased both governments reaffirmed their support for free and fair trade,” in a statement.
Donahue went on to say, “Over the last six years, KORUS has formed a solid foundation that allows US farmers, ranchers, and businesses to export their goods and services to the Korean market. During discussions between the two countries, the US Chamber recognized the importance of these gains and also called for both sides to address ongoing implementation concerns that were holding back growth. We look forward to continuing to work with both governments to ensure that KORUS — including these new trade commitments — is fully implemented and enforced in a way that allows our economic partnership to get even stronger.”