Korea Free Trade Agreement

U.S. government trade data covering the full first three years of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA) reveals that the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has nearly doubled. The U.S. International Trade Commission data show Korea FTA outcomes that are the opposite of the Obama administration's "more exports, more jobs" promise for that pact, which it is now repeating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as it tries to persuade Congress to delegate Fast Track authority:

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has swelled 90 percent, or $13.6 billion, in the first three years of the Korea FTA (comparing the year before the FTA took effect with the third year of implementation).
  • The trade deficit increase equates to the loss of more than 90,000 American jobs in the first three years of the Korea FTA, counting both exports and imports, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the Obama administration used to project job gains from the deal.
  • U.S. goods exports to Korea have dropped 7 percent, or $3 billion, under the Korea FTA's first three years.
  • U.S. imports of goods from Korea have surged 18 percent, or $10.6 billion in the first three years of the Korea FTA.
  • Record-breaking U.S. trade deficits with Korea have become the new normal under the FTA – in 35 of the 36 months since the Korea FTA took effect, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has exceeded the average monthly trade deficit in the three years before the deal. In January 2015, the monthly U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea topped $3 billion – the highest level on record.
  • The 90 percent surge in the U.S.-Korea goods trade deficit in the first three years of the FTA starkly contrasts with the 2 percent decrease in the global U.S. goods trade deficit during the same period. And while the strengthening value of the dollar has inhibited overall U.S. exports recently, U.S. goods exports to the world have remained level (zero percent change) while U.S. exports to Korea have fallen during the FTA's first three years.
  • The U.S. manufacturing trade deficit with Korea has grown 47 percent, or $10.6 billion, since implementation of the Korea FTA. The increase owes to a 1 percent, or $0.5 billion, decline in U.S. exports to Korea of manufactured goods and a 17 percent, or $10.1 billion, increase in imports of manufactured goods from Korea.
  • U.S. exports to Korea of agricultural goods have fallen 5 percent, or $323 million, in the first three years of the Korea FTA. U.S. agricultural imports from Korea, meanwhile, have grown 29 percent, or $103 million, under the FTA. As a result, the U.S. agricultural trade balance with Korea has declined 6 percent, or $426 million, since the FTA's implementation.



Reports and Memos  |  Press Room  |  Congress Speaks Out  |  Other Resources


Public Citizen Factsheets, Memos & Reports




Public Citizen Press Releases & Statements




Members of Congress Speak Out




Other Resources


Copyright © 2015 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.