Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia

The US-South Korean Trade Agreement This is the first of three articles on how these new free trade agreements can benefit Pennsylvania companies. On March 15, 2012, the new US–Korea free trade agreement becomes effective. Of particular interest to Pennsylvania manufacturers are the agreements regarding computers and electronic products, primary metals and agriculture. Manufacturing exports will benefit by eliminating non-tariff barriers, such as discriminatory standards, technical regulations and addressing the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). Such industrial sectors like automotive manufacturing; consumer goods; electrical/electronic goods; metals; shipping and transportation equipment; will gain duty-free access to the Korean market within 3 years.

 In addition, U.S. manufacturing firms will receive access to the Korean government procurement market, which makes KORUS FTA more appealing for small businesses.

 According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement is expected to expand U.S. exports of grain, oilseeds, fibers, fruits, vegetables, and livestock products. Previously, beef and produce exports were subject to both high tariffs and onerous inspection procedures. Under the new agreement these products should be easier to export. The tariffs on US beef will be phased out over the next 15 years. For pork products, Korea’s most consumed meat, 30% duties will be eliminated by 2014.

 The free trade agreement significantly opens up opportunities for increased services exports by establishing greater transparency involving Korea’s regulatory processes and enabling financial firms to establish branches, offer electronic commerce and legal services.

 For more information, please visit the US Government Trade site. Click here to watch a video from U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson,on the benefits of 3 new agreements for Pennsylvania on C-Span. For PA agriculture benefits & contact details for agriculture products related questions view this PDF. To read more state-by-state information and industries overview visit the Korea-U.S. Trade Partnership website.

 Also, for additional small business information visit the Office of the United States Trade Representative on KORUS.