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Secretary Locke and Congressional Delegation Met With Korean President Lee to Discuss U.S.-Korea Commercial Relationship

Today, Secretary Gary Locke and members of Congress met with the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-Bak at the Blue House. Locke, who is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to build support for the passage of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS), reinforced the importance of the bilateral commercial relationship as part of the two countries’ historic alliance and emphasized the importance of KORUS in spurring economic growth in both the U.S. and Korea.

“Korea is a vital ally, a strong friend, and an important economic partner,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “KORUS is a win-win for both the U.S. and Korea. This agreement will strengthen our partnership and take it to the next level, by lowering tariffs and creating a more level playing field for businesses in both countries.”

The congressional delegation consists of four members from the U.S. House of Representatives – Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and David Reichert (R-WA).

Locke and the delegation discussed the benefits of KORUS for both the U.S. and Korea in productive bilateral meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-Hwan and Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon. Earlier in the day, they met with the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, as well as top Korean business executives.  Locke and the delegation also met with a diverse group of Korean university students over afternoon tea where they had an in-depth discussion about the youth perspective on KORUS and how various elements of the agreement will benefit the economic future of both countries.  They talked about Korea’s impressive economic growth and its emerging economic leadership in the region and the world.

KORUS is the United States’ most commercially significant trade agreement in more than 16 years.  Korea is the United States’ 7th largest trading partner, and U.S. goods exports to Korea through February 2011 jumped 10.9 percent compared to the same period in 2010.   According to U.S. International Trade Commission estimates, the reduction of Korean tariffs and tariff-rate quotas under KORUS on goods alone would add $10 billion to $11 billion to annual U.S. GDP. By expanding access to Korea, the 12th largest economy in the world, the agreement will support tens of thousands of American jobs, open Korea’s $580 billion services market to American companies, eliminate Korean tariffs on 95 percent of U.S. exports of industrial and consumer goods within five years and immediately eliminate Korean tariffs on over two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports.

See Secretary Locke’s blog post and Op-Ed on the KORUS Co-Del and pictures from the visit.   

Secretary Locke having tea with Korean university students to discuss the future of U.S.-Korea economic relations Secretary Locke and Members of Congress Listen to Korean University Students' Thoughts Over Tea Secretary Locke and President Lee Myung-Bak Discuss the Benefits of Trade Korean President Lee Myung-Bak leads Secretary Locke and Congressional Members into the Blue House Secretary Locke and Rep. McDermott Together in Korea Secretary Locke Signs a Guestbook While Members of Congress Look On Secretary Locke and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-Hwan Secretary Locke Shakes Hands with Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon

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US-Korea Free Trade Agreement

Korea (and China for that matter) even with the Korean FTA will not allow "FREE" trade of fashion and apparel goods from U.S. to Korea without heavy non tariff costs and delays in Korea causing U.S. Mfgs to not bother to export fashion and apparel to Korea because it is to difficult.
Why doesn't the US/Korea FTA make it easier to send fashion and Apparel goods to Korea? The FTA doesnt address fashion and apparel goods exporting to Korea.

Answers to your questions on the Korean Trade Agreement

The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement does provide benefits to U.S. fashion and apparel goods, as long as such products meet the commitments specified for the textile and apparel sector.

Upon implementation of the Agreement, approximately 73 percent of U.S. textile and apparel exports to Korea by value would receive immediate duty-free treatment. In order to receive the duty-free benefits, the U.S. product must meet the Agreement’s “yarn forward” origin rule, meaning that, generally, apparel and other textile products must use yarn and fabric from the United States and Korea. This rule ensures that the benefits of the Agreement accrue to the United States and Korea, and not to third-party countries.

Korea is the 10th largest market for U.S. exports of textiles and apparel. The Agreement should provide greater opportunities for U.S. producers of textiles and apparel to export their products into the market. Between 2009 and 2010, U.S. exports of textiles and apparel to Korea increased by 6 percent, on a value basis, and are up by 5 percent between January-March 2010 and January-March 2011.

The Agreement addresses non-tariff barriers to all U.S. exports of manufactured goods, including textiles and apparel, whether by eliminating barriers that are in place today, or by establishing a framework to prevent non-tariff barriers from arising in the future.

Additional questions can be answered by this PDF -