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U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Effects on U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

USITC Publication 4393
Investigation No. 332-539


The effects of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the topic of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s most recent report.

Most U.S. SMEs contacted during the USITC’s investigation believed that the FTA had already proven helpful and would benefit them even more over time.

Produced for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the report:

  • discusses the effects of the FTA on the production, distribution, and export strategy of U.S. SMEs contacted by the USITC;
  • describes how those SMEs have benefited from specific provisions of the FTA;
  • details the challenges that the SMEs still face in exporting to Korea since the FTA's entry into force; and
  • contains information collected by the USITC from 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, according to the report. 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.

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