February 7, 2013
News Release 13-019
Inv. No. 332-539
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation to learn from U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about the effects of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) on U.S. SME exports to Korea.

The investigation, U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: Effects on U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on January 30, 2013.

In his letter, the USTR stated that one of the primary goals of the President's National Export Initiative is to increase export opportunities for America's SMEs and expand SME exports. He explained that a working group on SMEs established under the KORUS is exploring and developing ways for SMEs to take greater advantage of the economic opportunities created by the KORUS and said that the USITC investigation is intended to assist the USTR in better understanding the impact of the KORUS on U.S. SMEs since the agreement took effect in March 2012.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide, to the extent practicable, a report discussing the effects of the KORUS on the production, distribution, and export strategy of U.S. SMEs, as identified by those SMEs, and describing how U.S. SMEs have benefited from specific provisions of the KORUS. The report will also explore challenges that U.S. SMEs may have faced in exporting to Korea. The investigation will cover trade in goods and services and intellectual property, and it will examine U.S. SME sectors listed in the three prior USITC reports on SMEs released in 2010.

The USITC will submit its report to the USTR by May 1, 2013.

The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on March 14, 2013. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 27, 2013, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. For further information, call 202-205-2000.

The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 25, 2013. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC's notice of investigation, dated February 7, 2013, which can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representatives, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commissions' 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.

# # #