Over this past weekend, President Obama announced that the United States and Korea had come to terms on a trade agreement between our two countries. You may have heard that this deal had been in the works for a while; many were hoping for an announcement during the recent G20 in Seoul, but President Obama insisted that we keep working to improve the agreement on behalf of American workers. After a lot of long days and nights over the past few weeks, now we have an agreement for which American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers can all cheer.
The tariff cuts alone in the U.S. – Korea trade agreement will increase exports of American goods and services by $10 to $11 billion. We expect this agreement to create 70,000-plus jobs for American workers in a wide range of economic sectors from autos and manufacturing to agriculture.
Among other key aspects, this agreement works to support American auto jobs at home by improving our market access in Korea and giving American companies time to build their business there. And for non-automotive manufacturing workers, improved access to the Korean market will continue to support export-related manufacturing jobs at companies like Ellicott Dredges, the world’s oldest and largest supplier of medium-sized cutter suction dredges. Based in Maryland, Ellicott will be able to expand their Korean sales of dredges and spare parts and hire more workers once this agreement is implemented.
Similarly, American agricultural producers stand to gain from the U.S. – Korea trade agreement. Many farmers across the country already rely on Korean shoppers to purchase their Grown in America products. Just last year, Koreans spent almost $4 billion on American agriculture. The U.S. – Korea trade agreement will likely increase those sales because it eliminates duties on items such as wheat, corn, cotton, cherries, pistachios and more. For example, Koreans will soon be able to enjoy almonds from California at a more competitive price.
There’s a lot more to this landmark agreement than just autos, manufacturing, and agriculture. Our team worked hard to get a good deal for American businesses and workers – one that’s a win-win for the United States and our valued trading partner, Korea – and I’m looking forward to talking more in the coming months about how this deal will benefit you.