Korea Free Trade Agreement
U.S. government trade data covering the full first four years of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA), also known as KORUS, reveals that the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has more than 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 bring a vote before Congress:
- The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has swelled 115 percent, or $16 billion, in the first three years of the Korea FTA (comparing the year before the FTA took effect to the fourth year data).
- The trade deficit increase equates to the loss of more than 106,000 American jobs in the first four 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 9 percent, or $4.4 billion, under the Korea FTA's first four years.
- U.S. imports of goods from Korea have surged 19 percent, or $11.5 billion in the first four years of the Korea FTA.
- Record-breaking U.S. trade deficits with Korea have become the new normal under the FTA – in 47 of the 48 months since the Korea FTA took effect, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea has exceeded the average monthly trade deficit in the four years before the deal.
- The 115 percent surge in the U.S.-Korea goods trade deficit in the first four years of the FTA starkly contrasts with the 5 percent decrease in the global U.S. goods trade deficit during the same period.
- U.S. exports to Korea of agricultural goods have fallen 19 percent, or $1.4 billion, in the first four years of the Korea FTA, despite the administration's oft-touted point that almost two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports by value would obtain immediate duty-free entry to Korea under the pact.
- U.S. agricultural imports from Korea, meanwhile, have grown 34 percent, or $123 million, under the FTA. As a result, the U.S. agricultural trade balance with Korea has declined 22 percent, or $1.5 billion, since the FTA's implementation.
Reports and Memos | Press Room | Congress Speaks Out | Other Resources
- Prosperity Undermined: The Status Quo Trade Model's 21-Year Record of Massive U.S. Trade Deficits, Job Loss and Wage Suppression (August 20, 2015)
- Broken Promises: Outcomes of Korea, Colombia and Panama FTAs (July 7, 2015)
- Three Years of Korea FTA Show Failure of Obama's 'More Exports, More Jobs' Trade Pact Promises, Further Imperiling Bid for Fast Track (May 8, 2015)
- Updated Chart: Table of Foreign Investor-State Cases and Claims under NAFTA and Other U.S. "Trade" Deals (April 30, 2015)
- USTR's Omissions and Data Distortions Aimed at Hiding the Dismal Realities of the Korea Free Trade Agreement (December 20, 2014)
- Release of Two Years of Korea FTA Data Throws More Cold Water on Obama TPP and Fast Track Efforts After Asia Trip Fails to Change Dynamic (May 9, 2014)
- Korea FTA Outcomes on the Pact's Second Anniversary: U.S. Exports to Korea Are Down, Imports from Korea Are Up, Auto and Meat Sectors Hit Particularly Hard (March 12, 2014)
- Korea FTA Financial Services and Investment Rules Do Not Safeguard Policy Space for Use of Capital Controls and Other Capital Management Mechanisms (February 24, 2012)
- Korea Trade Deal's Negative Impact on U.S. Agriculture (May 12, 2011)
- April 2011 Executive Order on North Korea: Another Missed Opportunity to Address Conflict between Korea FTA and U.S. Sanctions Program (May 2, 2011)
- How the Korea FTA Could Provide New Revenue for the North Korean Dictatorship via Increased Access to the U.S. Market: Responding to Inaccuracies in Recent Commentary (March 31, 2011)
- Here's an Impediment to Job Creation That Ways and Means Hearing Should Discuss: Korea Trade Deal Is Projected to Increase the Overall U.S. Trade Deficit (March 30, 2011)
- The Korea FTA is Lose-Lose for the U.S. and Korea: The Facts (March 29, 2011)
- Korea FTA Has No Provisions to Counter Currency Manipulation (March 28, 2011)
- Previewing Ways and Means Chair Camp's Request for USITC Analysis of the December 2010 Korea FTA Supplemental Auto Deal (March 16, 2011)
- 12/3/2010 Supplemental Korea FTA Deal Did Not Fix Bush's 2007 FTA Text (February 28, 2011)
- More on North Korea "Kaesong" Sweatshop Goods, New Cash for the Kim Dictatorship and Weakened U.S. National Sovereignty (February 25, 2011)
- Comments: Regarding U.S. International Trade Committion's Forthcoming Study on Modifications to the Korea FTA Affecting Passenger Vehicles (February 14, 2011)
- The NAFTA Clone "Free Trade" Deal with Korea (January 30, 2014)
- Bush's NAFTA-style trade deal would undermine Obama's campaign trade reform commitments (November 11, 2011)
- Bush's NAFTA-Style Korea FTA Would Undermine Obama's Campaign Trade Reform Commitments (November 9, 2011)
- Talking Points on the Problematic Foreign Investor and Financial Deregulation Provisions of the Korea FTA (September 1, 2010)
- List of Korean firms operating in the United States that would be newly empowered to challenge US policies in foreign tribunals if the Korea FTA went into effect (July 1, 2010)
- Press Room: Read our past press releases and memos
- New Data Reveal That Obama’s Korea Trade Pact on Which the TPP Was Modeled Resulted in Doubling of Trade Deficit (May 4, 2016)
- Eighth Anniversary of Signing of the U.S.-Korea FTA Shows Failure of Obama's 'More Exports, More Jobs' Free Trade Promises, Further Endangering Push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (June 30, 2015)
- Third Year of Korea FTA Data Released, Show Failure of Obama's Last 'More Exports, More Jobs' Trade Pact Promises, Further Burdening Fast Track Prospects (May 5, 2015)
- Unhappy Third Birthday for Korea Free Trade Agreement Drags Down Obama Push for Fast Track Trade Authority (March 13, 2015)
- Press Call Monday at Noon: On Third Anniversary of Korea FTA, Worsening Trade Deficit Dogs Obama's Quest for Fast Track (March 13, 2015)
- Corrected Trade Data Confirm Ballooning Trade Deficit Under Korea FTA and More Than Twice the Trade Deficit With NAFTA Partners (February 10, 2015)
- Statement of Lori Wallach: 2014 Trade Data Details Growing Trade Deficits under Korea FTA and NAFTA (February 5, 2015)
- Reporters Memo: Analysis of 2014 Annual Trade Data (February 4, 2015)
- On Second Anniversary of U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, U.S. Exports Down 11 Percent, Imports from Korea Up and Deficit with Korea Balloons 47 Percent, Fueling Congressional Skepticism About Obama TPP Export Promises (March 12, 2014)
- Major Drop in U.S. Exports to Korea Since Obama's Free Trade Pact, Zero Growth in U.S. Goods Exports Revealed in Today's 2013 Year-End Trade Data Another Blow to Obama Push for Fast Track and TPP (February 6, 2014)
- Obama Plan to Double U.S. Exports by 2014 Floundering as He Heads to New Orleans Port to Sell His Trade Policy (November 7, 2013)
- As Korean President Arrives in Washington, First Year of Korea Free Trade Agreement Data Released; U.S. Exports Down, Trade Deficit with Korea Up, Contradicting Obama Promises of U.S. Export and Job Growth (May 7, 2013)
- On Anniversary of U.S.-Korea FTA Implementation, Though the FTA's Outcomes Are Abysmal, Obama Pushes for Trans-Pacific and European Agreements Based on Same Model (March 14, 2013)
- USITC Trade Data Shows Obama Goal of Doubling Exports Is Even More Remote Relative to Census Bureau Data, Due in Part to Falling Exports under FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama (February 11, 2013)
- Tomorrow's Census Bureau 2012 Trade Data Will Include Foreign-Made "Re-exports" but Even with Inflated Data, Obama Goal of Doubling Exports in Five Years Lags (February 7, 2013)
- Contrary to Obama's Claim, the Three U.S. Free Trade Agreements Passed a Year Ago Today Have not Boosted U.S. Exports (October 12, 2012)
- Obama Ignores Korean Request for Changes to Trade Deal (March 14, 2012)
- Job-Killing Trade Deals Pass Congress Amidst Record Democratic Opposition (October 12, 2011)
- Obama Administration's Dr. Jekyll Jobs and Mr. Hyde Trade Policy Schizophrenia (June 13, 2011)
- Reporters' Memo: Survey of Studies on Potential U.S. Economic Effects of Korea Trade Deal Shows Rising Deficits and Job Losses, 2010 'Supplemental Deal' Does Not Alter These Outcomes (January 6, 2011)
- Continuing Negotiations on Korea Trade Deal Are a Good Sign (November 11, 2010)
- Reporters' Memo: Survey of Studies on Potential Economic Effects of the Korea FTA Show Rising Deficits and Job Losses (November 8, 2011)
- Reporters' Memo: 2010 Election Focus on Trade and Job Offshoring Exposes Obama's G-20 Political Peril: Pushing Bush's Korea Trade Pact Endangers Obama's Re-election (October 27, 2010)
- Check out our list of statements on the U.S.-Korea FTA from members of Congress and organizations
- Members of Congress to USTR: Stop Making False Claims on the Trade Deficit (March 19, 2015)
- Reps. Ryan, Kaptur To USTR: "Check Your Math On Trade Deficits" (March 19, 2015)
- DeLauro, Slaughter Statement On US-Korea Trade Deficit Numbers (March 6, 2015)
- Rep. Lipinski Opposes Giving Up Congressional Authority and Allowing President to "Fast-Track" International Trade Agreements (January 22, 2015)