KORUS FTA 2.0: Assessing the Changes
On December 3, 2010, the United States and South Korea agreed to incremental changes to the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that greatly increase prospects for Congressional ratification next year. Immediate tariff cuts on autos and light trucks have been deferred a few years. Korea agreed to auto regulatory reforms that should help mitigate existing problems and preclude the introduction of new nontariff barriers. Minor adjustments also were made to the phase-out of Korean pork tariffs, the duration of US L-1 visas, and the grace period before Korea has to implement a pharmaceutical "patent linkage" system. The new deal should provide gains of more than $20 billion in bilateral trade. The pact also should have positive knock-on effects on the awakening global trade talks and on negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership.