Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Korea Trade Deal Produces Bleak First-Year Results for U.S

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Korea Trade Deal Produces Bleak First-Year Results for U.S

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- More than a year after it took effect, a highly touted trade deal with South Korea has failed to produce as expected for the U.S.: Exports are down, imports are up and the trade deficit with the Asian economic powerhouse has ballooned.

Overall, U.S. exports to Korea from March 2012 to this February fell to $42 billion, a 6 percent decline from the previous one-year period, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. During the same time, Korean imports increased by 4 percent.

The U.S. trade deficit with Korea went from $13.2 billion at the end of 2011 to nearly $16.6 billion at the end of last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Boosters of the pact say it's way too soon to know how it will pan out.

"To judge it after a year and say it's a success or failure is a little bit premature, certainly," said Eric Schinfeld, the president of the Washington Council on International Trade, in Seattle.

The deal with South Korea is one of three free-trade agreements, along with Colombia and Panama, that Congress passed in 2011 at the urging of President Barack Obama. The Korean deal, by far the largest and offering U.S. businesses the most potential in selling more goods overseas, took effect on March 15 of last year.

On Capitol Hill, some are sounding alarms.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raised the issue before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee earlier this month during a confirmation hearing for Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg. She told Mr. Hochberg that his job is to increase exports and reduce the trade deficit.

"Just based on the math, something is not working very well for the United States on the Korea free-trade agreement, and it seems to be working at cross-purposes with what it is that you're trying to accomplish," she told Mr. Hochberg.

Opponents hope that unhappiness with the early results of the Korean trade deal will lead more members of Congress to look skeptically at free-trade proposals, making it more difficult for the president to win approval for his Trans-Pacific Partnership. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.