STATEMENT BY AGRICULTURE SECRETARY MIKE JOHANNS REGARDING THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH KOREA
April 5, 2007
"The United States - Korea Free Trade Agreement is a historic and significant opportunity for U.S. agriculture that will create new export opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Nearly $2 billion worth of U.S. farm exports to Korea will become duty-free immediately, and market access will be expanded for beef, pork and poultry, among other commodities.
"While the agreement includes many beneficial provisions for U.S. agricultural products, I am confident in saying that it will not be ratified unless Korea opens its market to U.S. beef in accordance with science-based international guidelines."
Improved Market Access for U.S. Agricultural Producers:
Korea is our sixth largest U.S. export market. The United States is the chief agricultural exporter to Korea at $3.2 billion despite Korea's average agricultural tariff rate at 52 percent.
Almost two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports to Korea, $1.91 billion worth (2004-2006 average), will become duty-free immediately under the Korea free trade agreement - chiefly, wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, as well as hides and skins, cotton, wine, cherries, pistachios, almonds, and other products.
Five-year tariff phase-outs provide more access for grapefruit, a broad range of processed food products, chocolate and chocolate confectionary, sweet corn, sauces and preparations, alfalfa, breads and pastry, orange juice, and dried mushrooms. These products represent $368 million or 12 percent of average 2004-2006 trade.
Two-year tariff phase-outs increase market access for avocados, lemons, dried prunes and sunflower seeds.
Immediate duty-free access within tariff-rate quotas is provided for skim and whole milk powder, whey for food use, cheese, dextrins and modified starches, barley, popcorn, and soybeans for food use.
Market access for beef and pork will be improved through duty phase-outs, which will ultimately lead to unlimited duty-free access by 2014 for most significant pork products and in 15 years for beef.
Market access was also expanded for apples, pears, grapes and oranges.