U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has announced the effective date of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA) will be March 15.  Approximately two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports will become duty-free. 

Tariffs on pork exports currently at 22.5% to 25% will be phased out over two years beginning on Jan.1, 2014.  Tariffs on U.S. beef will go from 40% to zero over 15 years.  The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that after full implementation of the agreement, U.S. agricultural exports will increase $1.8 billion per year. 

The trade agreement is becoming an issue in Korea parliamentary election (April) and presidential election (December) this year.  The opposing party, the Democratic United Party, is vowing to repeal or at a minimum revise various sections of the agreement.  This action will be difficult because the United States would have to agree.