US-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Boon to California

California exporters, their employees, and supporting businesses will benefit from a Free Trade Agreement between the US and South Korea in 3 ways:

1) Intellectual Property Protection: Software, music, film, videos and publications that originate in California will be better protected than ever before from piracy, through more stringent regulations once this FTA is passed

2) Agricultural Duties: Growers and makers of pistachios, almonds, wine, frozen orange juice, and raisins will gain competitive price advantage, once duties are eliminated upon passage of this FTA. Note, however, that rice is completely excluded from the agreement, foreclosing any new markets for U.S. rice producers

3) Reduced Time-to-Market: Streamlined customs procedures will reduce red tape and accelerate time to customers, once this US-Korea FTA is approved. With exports to Korea from California already standing at about $8 billion and growing, it’s clear that the state’s trade with that region will only grow.

Where do things stand as of today with its passage? According to a recent Reuters news item, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk assures readers that “It is our goal to bring them [pending FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama] to Congress as soon as we can. I cannot put a time line on that, but they’re important to us”.

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