July 01, 2016 12:43
A new study by the U.S. International Trade Commission shows the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement had a positive effect on the American economy, improving the trade balance and welfare of consumers.
The ITC study comes after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and others cast aspersions on America's trade deals as being damaging to U.S. workers.
The report published Wednesday suggests that the FTA led to a US$15.7 billion improvement in the U.S. trade balance last year alone. The U.S. suffered a $28.3 billion trade deficit with Korea last year, but it would have been $44 billion without the bilateral free trade pact, the report argues.
The improvement was the second largest among 20 FTAs following a $17.7 billion boost from the trade pact with Canada.
The ITC added that imports of Korean products increased the range of choices available for U.S. consumers and resulted in $480 million worth of tariff savings.
Since the FTA with Korea is among the U.S.' latest, the report said relatively strong safeguards were included in the labor and environmental sectors.
An official at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy here said, "We hope that the latest report will ease a lot of the negative sentiment among U.S. politicians toward the Korea-U.S. FTA."
Trump has claimed at campaign rallies that America's trade deficit has doubled and 100,000 jobs have been lost due to the Korea-U.S. FTA alone.
The ITC is an agency that reports directly to the U.S. president and investigates matters of trade. The U.S. president has to respond to its recommendations within 60 days.
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