Revised U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Signed

The White House announced that on September 24, 2018, a revised U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) was signed by President Trump and South Korean President Moon. Amendments and modifications were made to improve the existing agreement to reduce our trade deficit and to expand opportunities to export U.S. products to South Korea.

Absolute quotas on imports of steel from Korea due to Section 232 are now included in the KORUS renegotiation, with a product-specific quota equaling 70 percent of the average annual volume of imports from 2015 through 2017.

Exports of U.S. made automobiles, innovative medicines, and agricultural crops will have better access to Korean markets.

Improvements for exports by the automotive industry include:

  • South Korea will double the annual number of American automobiles, from 25,000 to 50,000 per manufacturer per year, that can enter its market using U.S. safety standards without further modifications.
  • American vehicles will be able to meet South Korean gasoline emissions standards based on compliance with U.S. emissions regulations, avoiding additional or duplicative testing.
  • South Korea will recognize U.S. standards for auto parts necessary to service U.S. vehicles, and will reduce labeling burdens for auto parts.
  • Korea will extend the phase out of the 25% U.S. tariff on trucks until 2041, or a total of 30 years following the implementation of the KORUS FTA in 2012, which had previously been scheduled to phase out by 2021.

South Korea agreed to change their pharmaceutical reimbursement policy for innovative drugs on exports from the U.S. by the end of this year, to ensure they are non-discriminatory and apply fair treatment.

The export of U.S. agricultural crops will have a more open market.

The White House released a fact sheet on the KORUS revision, and in March 2018 the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a fact sheet on the key new KORUS trade agreement outcomes.

If you have any questions regarding the renegotiated U.S. – Korean Free Trade Agreement, Livingston can help!  Please contact either your Livingston account manager or our U.S. Regulatory Affairs Group at