Today, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, led a bipartisan coalition in calling on President Trump to continue honoring the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In recent weeks it has been reported that the Trump Administration is considering withdrawing from the agreement. A withdrawal from the agreement would cause American businesses, farmers and workers to face high barriers to selling their products while benefiting competitors in Asia and Europe.
“The U.S. relationship with Korea could not be more important than it is today. Growing and maintaining robust trading relationships in East Asia is our best tool to ensure peace and prosperity not only on the Korean peninsula but here at home as well. It would be a grave error to withdraw from the agreement,” said Reps. Reichert, Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).
The following members signed on to the letter: Rep. Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. Dent (R-Pa.), Rep. Larsen (D-Wash.), Rep. Royce (R-Calif.), Rep. Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Smith (R-Neb.), Rep. DelBene (D-Wash.), Rep. Tiberi (R-Ohio), Rep. Sewell (D-Ala.), Rep. Roskam (R-Ill.), Rep. Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. Noem (R-S.D.), Rep. Himes (D-Conn.), Rep. Meehan (R-Pa.), Rep. Bera (D-Calif.), Rep. Walters (R-Calif.), Rep. Kelly (R-Pa) and Rep. Murphy (D-Fla.).
Since the agreement was signed total exports of goods and services from the United States to Korea have increased by $2.1 billion, over 3 percent, since 2011. The annual merchandise trade deficit with Korea declined in 2016. Prior to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), U.S. cherry growers faced a 24 percent tariff, including on Dale’s cherries. KORUS eliminated this tariff. And in the year after the agreement entered into force, cherry exports to Korea nearly doubled and have continued to grow, making Korea our third largest market for cherries.