The newly announced March 15 start date for the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement will lift tariffs on nearly two-thirds of U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea, including fresh produce commodities such as cherries, pistachios, almonds, eggplant, celery, cucumbers, spinach and wine. Western Growers president and CEO Tom Nassif said:

“In some cases, our members were facing tariffs upwards of 30 percent on a number of commodities we grow and ship to South Korea. The U.S.-Korea free trade agreement represents a welcome opportunity for members of the specialty crop industry in California and Arizona. Western Growers congratulates U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on this positive step forward for U.S. agricultural exports.”

Also when the trade agreement takes effect, nearly 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial products to Korea will become duty-free, including agricultural equipment. The agreement includes a number of significant commitments related to non-tariff measures that will also come into force on March 15, including obligations related to environmental standards, enhanced regulatory transparency and standard setting.