Today U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement following President Obama's announcement at the G-20 of a new initiative to resolve outstanding aspects of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement before the G-20's next meeting in November.
"South Korea is Washington state's fifth largest export market, making the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement crucial to future job and economic growth. Passage of the FTA would have enormous benefits for Washington, by making many U.S. food products duty-free, including wheat, cherries, wine, and potatoes. As an example, last year, Washington state farmers exported $7 million worth of cherries to South Korea. This tariff reduction would reduce the cost of Washington cherries by approximately 75 cents a pound, increasing access for Korean consumers. As for wine, from mid-2007 to mid-2008, Washington and Oregon exported 11,801 cases of wine to South Korea, with a value of over $700,000. Forecasts predict the FTA passage would increase the volume of wine sold in South Korea by 45.2 percent and the value growth would be 188 percent.
"As this agreement moves forward, it is important to ensure we reduce both tariff and non-tariff barriers. One non-tariff barrier in particular that needs to be addressed is policies that prevent full market access for American beef. American beef producers should have full access to the Korean market potentially worth $1 billion."