The U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement became effective last Thursday.  Approximately two-thirds of the tariffs on U.S. food and agricultural products were eliminated March 15.  This includes wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, whey for feed use, hides and skins, cotton, cherries, pistachios, almonds, orange juice, grape juice and wine. 

Tariffs and import quotas on most remaining U.S. agricultural goods will be phased out over 10 years.  U.S. pork exports to South Korea are currently applied a tariff of 25% on frozen pork product and 22.5% on fresh or chilled pork products.

Under the agreement, tariffs will be eliminated on all U.S. frozen pork and some processed pork products by 2016. Fresh-chilled pork will be duty free 10 years after implementation with a safeguard.  Some products will be eliminated over a longer period of time.  Tariffs on beef will be eliminated over 15 years and fresh apples in 23 years. 

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “Strengthening our partnership with growing markets in the Asia Pacific region, such as South Korea, is integral to the strength of the U.S. economy in the decades ahead. Along with other efforts to promote American exports, the trade deal with South Korea helps level the playing field for American businesses and will help put folks back to work. Across the economy, it will add $10 billion to $12 billion to annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product.”