South Korea And U.S. To Start Talks On Free Trade

With the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations more than a year behind its target date for completion, the U.S. continues to seek bilateral free-trade agreements around the world. The latest is with South Korea.

The Bush administration on Feb. 2 announced its intention to negotiate a free-trade agreement with South Korea. The pact, says U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, would remove both tariff and non-tariff trade barriers between the U.S. and South Korea and expand trade.

In 2005, bilateral trade in goods alone was $72 billion. Major U.S. exports to South Korea include aircraft, machinery and organic chemicals. Major U.S. imports from South Korea include automobiles, telecommunications equipment and electrical machinery.

The U.S. has eight free-trade agreements in effect, has completed negotiations on one other (CAFTA), and has negotiations underway, or about to begin, with 11 other nations.

Negotiations with South Korea will begin after a 90-day consultation period between the administration and the U.S. Congress.

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