On October 21, 2011, President Obama signed the implementing legislation for the long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea, along with the Colombia and Panama FTAs and a host of other trade legislation. It may be many months, however, until the U.S.-Korea FTA goes into effect.

On November 22, the Korean National Assembly ratified the U.S.-Korea FTA by 151 to 7, even though some Korean lawmakers were calling for renegotiation. With fears of physical altercations in the Assembly, members of President Lee Myung-bak’s Grand National Party called a snap plenary session in hopes of avoiding trouble. The FTA passed by a vote of 151 to 7, with 12 abstaining and 129 lawmakers missing. The opposition members voted against the bill, abstained, or were not present for the vote.

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk said, “The United States welcomes the Korean National Assembly’s approval of the KORUS FTA. This is a win-win agreement that will provide significant economic and strategic benefits to both countries.” 

On March 15, 2012, the U.S.-Korea FTA went into effect. For more information on how to take advantage of the duty-free benefits in the agreement, we encourage you to purchase our recent webinar series.

USFIA Position

The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is a strong supporter of removing barriers to trade with South Korea, and welcomes the passage and implementation on March 15th of the U.S.-Korea FTA.

Throughout March 2012, USFIA, formerly the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA), hosted a series of webinars outlining the textile, apparel, and footwear provisions of the agreement. The presentations from these webinars are available for purchase here.


U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement

U.S. Department of Commerce: Why a U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

U.S. Department of Commerce: FTA Tariff Tools

U.S. Customs & Border Protection: Info on Regulations/Customs for U.S.-Korea FTA