Cantwell Hails Progress Toward U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement

South Korea is Washington's fifth largest export market; new agreement would mean significant job opportunities on our farms and in our ports

WASHINGTON, US – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell released the following statement following the President’s announcement that the United States and Korea have made substantial progress toward a U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).   
“South Korea is Washington’s fifth largest export market, meaning any new trade agreement will spur new job and economic growth in our state,” said Senator Cantwell. “Passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement would have enormous benefits for Washington, by making many U.S. food products duty-free – such as our world-class wheat, cherries, wine, and potatoes. I urge the negotiators discussing the remaining beef issue to work toward an agreement that will ensure American beef producers have full access to a Korean market potentially worth $1 billion to U.S. producers.” 
Last year, Washington’s farmers exported $7 million worth of cherries to South Korea, despite a 25 percent tariff. The FTA will immediately eliminate that tariff, reducing the cost of Washington state cherries by approximately 75 cents a pound, easing access for Korean consumers. From mid-2007 to mid-2008, Washington and Oregon exported 11,801 cases of wine to South Korea, with a value of over $700,000. Forecasts indicate that the FTA passage would increase the volume of wine sold in South Korea by 45.2 percent and the value growth would be 188 percent.