Korea Free Trade Agreement

U.S. government trade data covering the full first four years of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA), also known as KORUS, reveals that the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has more than doubled. The U.S. International Trade Commission data show Korea FTA outcomes that are the opposite of the Obama administration's "more exports, more jobs" promise for that pact, which it is now repeating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as it tries to bring a vote before Congress:

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has swelled 99 percent, or $15.4 billion, in the first four years of the Korea FTA (comparing the year before the FTA took effect to the fourth year data).
  • The trade deficit increase equates to the loss of more than 102,554 American jobs in the first four years of the Korea FTA, counting both exports and imports, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the Obama administration used to project job gains from the deal.
  • U.S. goods exports to Korea have dropped 10 percent, or $4.5 billion, under the Korea FTA's first four years.
  • U.S. imports of goods from Korea have increased 18 percent, or $10.8 billion in the first four years of the Korea FTA.
  • Record-breaking U.S. trade deficits with Korea have become the new normal under the FTA – in 47 of the 48 months since the Korea FTA took effect, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has exceeded the average monthly trade deficit in the four years before the deal.
  • The 99 percent surge in the U.S.-Korea goods trade deficit in the first four years of the FTA starkly contrasts with the 2 percent decrease in the global U.S. goods trade deficit during the same period.
  • U.S. exports to Korea of agricultural goods have fallen 19 percent, or $1.4 billion, in the first four years of the Korea FTA, despite the administration's oft-touted point that almost two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports by value would obtain immediate duty-free entry to Korea under the pact.
  • U.S. agricultural imports from Korea, meanwhile, have grown 34 percent, or $123 million, under the FTA. As a result, the U.S. agricultural trade balance with Korea has declined 22 percent, or $1.5 billion, since the FTA's implementation.

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