Washington Kicks off Study of ROK-US Free Trade Pact

Article excerpt

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched a general fact- finding investigation to analyze the economic impact of a free trade agreement between the United States and Korea.

The investigation, U.S.-Korea FTA: The Economic Impact of Establishing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Korea, was made at the request of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Finance in a letter received on December 18, 2000.

In its request letter, the Committee said that the Korea report will be the first in a series of reports it expects to request over the next several months.

The Committee noted that, in the absence of a new round of global trade liberalization talks within the World Trade Organization framework, it is interested in obtaining the Commission's advice on the economic impact of negotiating bilaterally or regionally with particular trading partners, as a number of U.S. trading partners have done.

As requested, in the Korea investigation, the independent quasi-judicial federal agency will;

--provide an overview of the Korean economy and the current economic relationship between the United States and Korea, including a discussion of the important industry sectors in both countries;

---- analyze the main tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the United States and Korea;

----estimate the effects of eliminating all quantifiable tariff and non- tariff barriers, with special attention to agricultural goods, on the volume of trade between the two countries, the sectoral output and Gross Domestic Product of both countries, wages and employment across industry sectors in both countries, and the final prices paid by consumers in both countries; and

----provide a qualitative assessment of the effects of removing non- quantifiable trade barriers. …