Ten Years of Korea-U.S. FTA: focusing on agri-food trade

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Ten Years of Korea-U.S. FTA: focusing on agri-food trade
10 years have passed since the Korea-U.S. FTA came into force on March 15, 2012. Tariffs on 97.9% of agricultural products have since been abolished.• Seoul and Washington had eight negotiations with two additional rounds of talks before the treaty finally went into effect in March 2012. Through their talks, the two sides agreed to open 97.9% of agricultural items (based on the Harmonized System). The bilateral trade volume in agricultural products has increased since the effectuation of the Korea-U.S. FTA. Korea’s trade deficit has widened during the period, while FTA application for goods exported to the U.S. has been relatively low.• The agricultural and livestock products imported from America reached $10.32 billion in the 10th year (2021) of the treaty, up 73.8% from the average before the treaty went into effect. The average import volume between the 6th and 10th year of the treaty amounted to $9.07 billion, up 52.7% before the enforcement.• Korea’s agricultural and livestock exports to the U.S. posted $1.26 billion, 214% up from the average before the treaty. The average export between the 6th and 10th year reached $980 million, up 43.6% during the same period. • Korea’s trade deficit rose to $809 million in the 6th-10th year, up 46.1% from the average before the treaty. • The average import unit prices for American beef, pork, grape, and kidney beans in the 6th-10th year were up from the figures before the treaty. However, the imported volumes and their shares to the total expanded during the same period.• The fill rates of U.S. items subject to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) were around 50% due to changes in import sources and decreased demand for American products. ASG measures were triggered for five items. • FTA application for items imported from the U.S. amounted to 71.6% on average in the 10th year of the treaty. However, the application for items exported to the U.S. slightly rose from 42.9% in 2012 to 49.5% in 2021, with the livestock category at 70.7%, the highest of all.The Korean government has signed free trade agreements with various nations. While doing so, it should also pursue self-sufficiency by expanding the domestic output of high-quality agricultural and livestock products. At the same time, it must focus on education to increase FTA application to Korean products exported to America. • Korea should use digitalized, smart farming to expand high-quality product output. The government has to educate stakeholders to raise FTA applications for Korean agricultural and livestock products exported to the U.S.
1. Introduction2. Enforcement of the Korea-U.S. FTA and changes in agri-food trade3. Changes in trades of major products4. Summary and key findings
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