U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in recognition of the entry into force of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Earlier this week, Rep. Kelly was named a co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Korea.
"Today's anniversary is a chance to reflect on the undeniable success that the U.S.-Korea FTA has brought our country in terms of growth and productivity. In just a year's time since the agreement went into effect, American manufacturing exports to South Korea rose 1.3 percent from $34.3 billion in 2011 to $34.8 billion in 2012; service-based exports rose 8.7 percent to $18 billion; agricultural exports such as orange and grape juice climbed as high as 130 percent, while wheat and soybeans exports rose 38 percent and 48 percent respectively. The facts are clear: lower tariffs between us and our Korean allies have meant greater growth for our prized industries here at home.
"When we stand up for free trade, we stand for the fundamental American principle of economic liberty -- the most powerful producer of jobs and prosperity history has ever known. With this monumental FTA firmly in place, American businesses of all sorts will continue to export more products and services to our friends abroad, resulting in more capital for our job creators and more jobs for our citizens.
"I am honored to have been recently named a co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Korea. Our country is currently home to more than two million Korean Americans, many of whom comprise the largest contingent of foreign students attending U.S. institutes of higher education. South Korea remains an international model for democracy and free enterprise and ranks as one of the greatest U.S. foreign policy success stories in the post-World War II era."