There is an old adage that “good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who are patient.”
The Korean people, businesses and government have been very patient since the KORUS FTA was first completed in 2007. Now that it has been ratified by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama, it is now up to the National Assembly to approve the KORUS FTA in order to reap the many benefits for Korean businesses, workers and consumers.
The KORUS FTA is the largest FTA for the United States since NAFTA and is a “win-win” for both countries. Being an FTA partner with the U.S. has a proven track record ― before the economic downturn, every FTA partner with the U.S. saw significant increases in their exports to the U.S., which helped to sustain economic growth and jobs in those countries.
In this time of global economic uncertainty, the KORUS FTA will provide the certainty of new markets for Korea’s goods and services, benefitting Korea’s businesses and workers; as well as provide economic benefits in terms of more choice, competitive pricing and savings to Korean consumers.
The KORUS FTA will benefit Korean companies and workers by providing greater access to the U.S. market and consumers; it will also provide Korean companies with a competitive advantage over goods and products exported from other countries in the region. By opening up Korea’s services markets, the KORUS FTA will help Korean service providers strengthen their competitiveness not only in the Korean market but globally as well.
Korean consumers will also benefit from the KORUS FTA because it will allow a greater variety of imported goods, agricultural products, and services into the Korean market that will spur more competitive pricing.
Finally, given the political and geostrategic changes in the region looming on the horizon, the KORUS FTA will further solidify the already strong security and economic partnership between Korea and the U.S.
The sooner the agreement is approved by the legislatures of both countries, the sooner it can be executed and go into effect. Therefore, the National Assembly is urged to act as quickly as possible and approve the KORUS FTA ― the time is now.
By Brian Peck
Brian Peck, an adjunct professor of international trade policy at USC Gould School of Law, is an international trade and intellectual property attorney. ― Ed.