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Negotiations with the United States were concluded in April 2007 and the resulting FTA is currently in the process of ratification by the two countries' legislatures. The agricultural sector was the main issue in the negotiations. Korea agreed to eliminate tariffs on 587 items out of 1,548 agricultural products once the agreement goes into fore and to eliminate tariffs for all agricultural products within 20 years, except for a few items such as rice and rice products.

Although rise was excluded from the tariff concessions, Korea will grant zero duty immediately on imports of U.S. corn feed and milling wheat once the FTA goes into effect. The tariffs on imports of beef muscle cuts will decline from the current 40 percent to zero in 15 equal annual reductions. The agreement includes a quantity safeguard of 270,000 metric tons for beef muscle cuts, growing at a compound 2 percent annual rate, to a final safeguard level of 354,000 tons in 15 years. In year 16 and beyond, tariffs will be eliminated and the safeguard will no longer apply.

The tariffs on oranges imported during the out-of-season period (March 1-August 31) will be reduced from the current 50 percent to 30 percent immediately and then will be eliminated in six equal annual reductions. In addition, during the in-season period (September 1-end of February), a duty-free quota shall be established with an initial quantity of 2,500 tons, with 3 percent annual compound growth in perpetuity. The tariff imposed on imports exceeding the quota tariff will remain at the current MFN rate of 50 percent.

Source : SaKong, Il and Koh, Youngsun, 2010. The Korean Economy Six Decades of Growth and Development. Seoul: Korea Development Institute.

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