European Union-S. Korea Trade Agreement Takes Effect

By June 30, 2011Trade

About seven hours ago, manufactured goods exports from the European Union began to receive duty-free treatment upon entry to South Korea, one of the largest and fastest-growing industrial economies in Asia. Korean goods will also receive duty free entry to the EU about 2 hours from now, as midnight arrives in London and Paris and Berlin.

This means that products made in America — which support American jobs and families and cities – will now compete at a disadvantage of 8-12 percent with similar or identical products from Europe.

The EU has many more FTAs than the United States, and it has been far more robust and energetic in recent years in pursuing new FTAs around the world. The EU is nearly complete with FTAs with Colombia and Panama as well.

In recent months, we’ve seen substantial progress on moving our three pending FTAs forward for Congressional approval. It is time to accelerate that process. Chairman Camp and Chairman Baucus both cited the EU-Korea deadline of July 1 as a key point for passage of our FTAs with Colombia, Korea and Panama. We urge Congress to come to agreement on any outstanding issues, and pass those agreements before July 1 becomes August 1.

Doug Goudie is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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