Trading Partner Portal: South Korea
Korea is a $1.4 trillion economy and its commercial relationship with the United States is largely complementary. In 2014, two-way trade between the two countries totaled over $114.1 billion. In 2014, U.S. goods exports to Korea were $44.5 billion, a 6.8 percent increase from 2013.
Korea is California’s fifth largest export destination. California is among the top exporting states to Korea, making up 19 percent of U.S. exports to Korea. In 2014, California exported nearly $8.6 billion to Korea. Top products from California to Korea included non electrical machinery, computers and electronics, transportation equipment, and food manufactures.
Korea currently enjoys broad access to the U.S. market and the United States is one of Korea’s larger exporting markets, importing 10.7 percent of Korea’s worldwide exported goods. CIA World Factbook
According to the most recent figures, U.S. foreign direct investment in Korea totaled roughly $34.9 billion and was concentrated largely in the manufacturing, banking, and wholesale trade sectors. Korean foreign direct investment to the United States reached $36.1 billion.
There are over 1.6 million Korean-Americans in the United States. Los Angeles alone is home to 160,000 residents of Korean origin, according to the Migration Policy Institute. There is also a large population of Korean students studying at higher education institutions across the U.S. Korean visitors enter the United States via the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
Characteristics of travellers from South Korea to California – 2013
|Korean President Park’s New Administration
Korea’s Government Reorganization and Implications for U.S. Business
U.S.-Korea Business Council, Spring 2013
U.S. Korea Connect’s Exclusive Interview with Ambassador Ahn Ho-young
U.S. Korea Connect, July 2013
Senate confirms new US ambassador to South Korea
The Hill, October 13, 2011
The State of the U.S.-ROK Alliance
A Korea Program Essay
Council on Foreign Relations, October 2011
Creating Opportunities Through Green Growth
– Presentation at the U.S.-Korea Business Council Meeting, February 6, 2010
California and Korea : A Growing Partnership
Business Roundtable, June 2007
U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement
Four Year Snapshot: The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement
March 15, 2016 marked the four-year anniversary of the entry into force of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). These past four years have been a period of growth and resurgence for the American economy, with 2015 recording solid GDP growth, a net gain of 2.6 million private-sector jobs, and the sixth consecutive year of net gain in manufacturing employment.
The U.S.-Korea trade and investment relationship is substantially larger and stronger than before the KORUS agreement. Since entry into force of the agreement in 2012, the U.S. and Korea have carried out five rounds of tariff cuts and eliminations, creating significant new market access opportunities for U.S. exporters. The agreement has also expanded opportunities for our growing services trade, improved transparency in Korea’s regulatory system, strengthened intellectual property protection, and leveled the playing field for key U.S. exports, including autos. Overall, U.S.-Korea goods and services trade has risen from $126.5 billion in 2011 to nearly $150 billion in 2015.
USTR, March 15, 2016
Statement by Ambassador Michael Froman on the Third Anniversary of KORUS
USTR, March 13, 2015
3 Ways U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Has Helped U.S. Dairy
U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog, March 16, 2015
Ag exports to Korea growing 7x faster than those to world at large
Farm Futures, March 16, 2015
U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Shows Strong Results on Second Anniversary
In the two years that this landmark agreement has been in effect, Korea has become the sixth-largest trading partner of the United States, exports of U.S. manufactured goods to Korea have increased, Koreans are buying more U.S. services than ever, and U.S. exports of a wide range of agricultural products have seen significant gains. KORUS has also improved Korea’s investment environment through strong provisions on intellectual property rights, services, and investment, supporting U.S. exports.
USTR, March 12, 2014
“The KORUS Advantage: A Basic Guide for US Companies to the Contents of the KORUS FTA” was recently published by the U.S.-Korea Business Council and AmCham Korea. This guide provides guidelines for U.S. businesses looking to take advantage of the KORUS FTA.
“KORUS FTA Facts and Figures“ is a six-month overview of bilateral trade statistics since the KORUS FTA was implemented, released by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington, D.C.
The CalChamber was part of a broad-based coalition that waged a multi-year campaign to secure congressional passage of the U.S.-Korea FTA. Congress approved the FTA on October 12, 2011. The South Korean Parliament followed suit on November 22, 2011.
U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Now in Effect
U.S. Korea Connect
To help you take advantage of the US-Korea FTA, the Korean
Embassy in the US has introduced a new website at
|U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Takes Effect Today
Today is the implementation date for the landmark U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the product of years of collaboration by the business community and both governments. The California Chamber of Commerce-supported FTA is the biggest free trade pact the United States has reached since entering the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. CalChamber, March 15, 2012
March 15, 2012 is the implementation day for the landmark U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the product of years of collaboration by the business community and both governments.
The California Chamber of Commerce-supported FTA is the biggest free trade pact the United States has reached since entering the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.
Recognition goes to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for his leadership in getting the U.S.-Korea FTA to the finish line.
The United States has welcomed the newly appointed South Korean Ambassador to the United States, Choi Young-jin.
His Excellency Duk-Soo Han, former Prime Minister and Ambassador to the United States from the Republic of Korea, was instrumental in garnering support for the U.S.-Korea agreement. Han spoke to the CalChamber on several occasions, as did the Consuls General of Korea in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The United States and the Republic of Korea announced on February 2, 2006 that they were beginning negotiations toward a bilateral FTA, with talks expected to take up to a year. Although the negotiations concluded on April 1, 2007, nearly five years passed before the FTA could be implemented.
Implementation of the U.S.-Korea FTA will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services, promote economic growth, and enhance trade between the United States and Korea.
This comprehensive agreement was approved by the U.S. House (278-151) and the U.S. Senate (83-15) on October 12, 2011.
|U.S. – Korea FTA: Final Votes
Ayes: Becerra, Berman, Bilbray, Bono Mack,
Calvert, Campbell, Costa, Davis, Denham,
Dreier, Eshoo, Gallegly, Herger, Issa, Lewis,
Lungren, Matsui, McCarthy, McClintock,
McKeon, Miller, Nunes, Pelosi, Royce, Sanchez (Loretta), Schiff, Thompson, Boxer, Feinstein
Noes: Baca, Bass, Capps, Cardoza, Chu, Farr,
Filner, Garamendi, Honda, Hunter, Lee, Lofgren,
McNerney, Miller, Napolitano, Richardson, Rohrabacher, Roybal-Allard, Sanchez (Linda), Sherman, Speier, Stark, Waters,
The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that with full implementation of the KORUS FTA, U.S. goods exports to Korea will likely increase by $9.7-$10.9 billion and U.S. imports of goods from Korea will likely increase by $6.4-$6.9 billion, enhancing our already balanced trade partnership.
- U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- U.S.-Korea Trade Partnership
The California Chamber of Commerce, in keeping with long-standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business. New multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensure that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans.
Reasons for Position
- The U.S.- Korea FTA will send a strong signal that the United States intends to remain heavily engaged in the region for a long time to come in business, economics, security and international politics.
- The FTA will strengthen a 50-year-old alliance between the United States and South Korea, while reinforcing the economic and political reforms South Korea has made over the past decade.
The WEST (Work, English Study, and Travel) Program is a unique exchange program that provides an opportunity for Korean university students and recent graduates to come to the United States for a period of 18 months to study English and to participate in professional level internships of up to 12 months.
This program, which was agreed to by Korean President Lee and U.S. President Bush in 2008, was launched late last year and is fully supported by the Korean and U.S. governments.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs has designated the Korea-U.S. Science Cooperation Center in Vienna, Virginia (KUSCO) as a sponsoring organization of the WEST Program. If your company or organization would like learn more about this program, please visit www.kusco.org/program/west or contact Jim Kelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2010 Asia Trade Mission
2010 Asia Trade Mission
|2010 Trade Mission to Asia
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
September 9 – 15, 2010Hangzhou ~ Shanghai ~ Tokyo ~ SeoulClick on a city to see the itinerary California Business DelegationCalChamber Joins Governor on Successful Asia Trade Mission
CalChamber, September 21, 2010
CalChamber Hosts Korea International Trade Association (KITA) Delegation
(June 26, 2013) CalChamber vice president of international affairs, Susanne Stirling meets with visitors from the Korea International Trade Association.
|Korean Ambassador Highlights Trade Agreement at CalChamber Forum|
|CalChamber Hosts Mayor of Gangnam, Korea||Korean Ambassador Urges Support for Free Trade Agreement|
(January 31, 2008) CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg exchanges business cards with the Mayor Maeng Jung Ju of Gangnam, Korea on January 31, 2008. Accompanying the Korean delegation is Ronnie Guyer (center) field representative for Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa).
(August 29, 2007) The California Chamber of Commerce yesterday hosted His Excellency Lee Tae-sik, Korean Ambassador to the United States, at an international luncheon forum where he discussed the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), currently pending before Congress, and enumerated the benefits of the FTA for California businesses.
Key Country Contacts
CalChamber Receives Korean Presidential Citation
On Thursday, December 6, the California Chamber of Commerce received the prestigious Presidential Citation from the government of the Republic of Korea for promoting U.S.-Korea trade and commercial relations, and specifically for contributing to the passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
CalChamber, December 11, 2012
Pictured: Consul General Jeong Gwan Lee and Consul Kwang Ho Lee of the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco present the Korean Presidential Citation to Mrs. Susanne Stirling, Vice President International Affairs, with 2012 Chair Tim Dubois observing.