May 23, 2013
News Release 13-048
Inv. No. 332-539
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has released a report on the effects of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Most U.S. SMEs contacted during the USITC's investigation expressed the belief that the FTA had already proven helpful and would benefit the companies even more over time. Some responding businesses, however, expressed concerns about remaining nontariff barriers and possible new administrative burdens.

The report, U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Effects on U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, was produced at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested, the report discusses the effects of the FTA on the production, distribution, and export strategy of the U.S. SMEs contacted by the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency. The report describes how those U.S. SMEs have benefited from specific provisions of the FTA and details the challenges that the SMEs still face in exporting to Korea since the FTA's entry into force. The report contains information collected by the USITC from U.S. SMEs that compared their experiences before and after the FTA's entry into force.

Once the FTA entered into force on March 15, 2012, a very large share of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products were eligible for duty-free entry into Korea. Besides cutting tariffs, the FTA strengthens Korea's commitments to improve U.S. access to Korean markets in major services sectors and includes provisions for addressing Korea's nontariff trade measures as well as trade-related issues such as labor, environment, and competition policy.

U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Effects on U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Inv. No. 332-539, USITC publication 4393, May 2013) is available on the USITC's Internet site at

The report may be requested by emailing, by calling 202-205-2000, or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subject investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigations reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

# # #