Much of the Trump administration’s trade agenda over the past year has focused on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – a sixth round of talks on that is set to begin Jan. 23 in Montreal – but this week the president’s trade team turns to the deal with Korea.
No, not the country ruled by “Rocket Man,” the one that will host next month’s 2018 Winter Olympics.
South Korea and the United States last October agreed to renegotiate the Korea-U.S. (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement, which took effect just six years ago.
As they are over NAFTA renegotiations, America’s farmers are concerned about redoing KORUS. That’s because under the agreement, the Asian nation has become a top destination for U.S. agricultural products; farm exports to South Korea totaled $6.2 billion in 2016 (in 2010, they were $5 billion). The U.S. pork industry shipped more than $365 million worth of product there in 2016.
Of course, if it can be improved for other sectors of the economy while pork and other U.S. farm exports maintain their market access in Korea, farmers will whole heartedly support the revised agreement.
So as KORUS renegotiations begin Jan. 5, pork producers offer their support to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the entire administration trade team in their quest to make a good deal even better.