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Statement

Release No. 0090.07
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Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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STATEMENT BY AGRICULTURE SECRETARY MIKE JOHANNS REGARDING THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH KOREA

April 5, 2007

"The United States - Korea Free Trade Agreement is a historic and significant opportunity for U.S. agriculture that will create new export opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Nearly $2 billion worth of U.S. farm exports to Korea will become duty-free immediately, and market access will be expanded for beef, pork and poultry, among other commodities.

"While the agreement includes many beneficial provisions for U.S. agricultural products, I am confident in saying that it will not be ratified unless Korea opens its market to U.S. beef in accordance with science-based international guidelines."

Improved Market Access for U.S. Agricultural Producers:

  • Korea is our sixth largest U.S. export market. The United States is the chief agricultural exporter to Korea at $3.2 billion despite Korea's average agricultural tariff rate at 52 percent.
  • Almost two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports to Korea, $1.91 billion worth (2004-2006 average), will become duty-free immediately under the Korea free trade agreement - chiefly, wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, as well as hides and skins, cotton, wine, cherries, pistachios, almonds, and other products.
  • Five-year tariff phase-outs provide more access for grapefruit, a broad range of processed food products, chocolate and chocolate confectionary, sweet corn, sauces and preparations, alfalfa, breads and pastry, orange juice, and dried mushrooms. These products represent $368 million or 12 percent of average 2004-2006 trade.
  • Two-year tariff phase-outs increase market access for avocados, lemons, dried prunes and sunflower seeds.
  • Immediate duty-free access within tariff-rate quotas is provided for skim and whole milk powder, whey for food use, cheese, dextrins and modified starches, barley, popcorn, and soybeans for food use.
  • Market access for beef and pork will be improved through duty phase-outs, which will ultimately lead to unlimited duty-free access by 2014 for most significant pork products and in 15 years for beef.
  • Market access was also expanded for apples, pears, grapes and oranges.