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Korea

Opportunities for U.S. Exporters Under the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force on March 15, 2012.   If you’re an American exporter, here are resources to answer your questions about the U.S.-Korea trade agreement:

• Check out the FTA Tariff Tool to find out the tariff levels for your products, and other information about market access under the agreement.

The United States and the Republic of Korea signed the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) on June 30, 2007.

U.S.-Korea Trade Facts

U.S. goods and services trade with Korea totaled an estimated $154.9 billion in 2020. Exports were $69.0 billion; imports were $85.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Korea, South was $16.8 billion in 2020.

Korea is currently our 6th largest goods trading partner with $127.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2020. Goods exports totaled $51.2 billion; goods imports totaled $76.0 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was $24.8 billion in 2020.

Trade in services with Korea (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $27.7 billion in 2020. Services exports were $17.8 billion; services imports were $9.8 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with Korea was $8.0 billion in 2020.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Korea supported an estimated 256 thousand jobs in 2019 (latest data available) (240 thousand supported by goods exports and 15 thousand supported by services exports).

Exports

  • Korea was the United States' 7th largest goods export market in 2020.
     
  • U.S. goods exports to Korea in 2020 were $51.2 billion, down 9.4% ($5.3 billion) from 2019 but up 32% from 2010. U.S. exports to Korea are up 17.8% from 2011 (pre-FTA).  U.S. exports to Korea account for 3.6% of overall U.S. exports in 2020.
     
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2020 were: mineral fuels ($8.6 billion), machinery ($7.8 billion), electrical machinery ($5.7 billion), optical and medical instruments ($3.3 billion), and vehicles ($2.8 billion)
     
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Korea totaled $7.8 billion in 2020, our 5th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: beef & beef products ($1.7 billion), corn ($548 million), fresh fruit ($459 million), pork & pork products ($453 million), and food preparations ($419 million).
     
  • U.S. exports of services to Korea were an estimated $17.8 billion in 2020, 25.7% ($6.2 billion) less than 2019, but 7% greater than 2010 levels. It was up roughly 34% from 2011 (pre-FTA). Leading services exports from the U.S. to Korea were in charges for the use of intellectual property, transport, and travel sectors.
     

Imports

  • Korea was the United States' 7th largest supplier of goods imports in 2020.
     
  • U.S. goods imports from Korea totaled $76.0 billion in 2020, down 1.9% ($1.5 billion) from 2019, but up 56% from 2010. U.S. imports from Korea are up 34.2% from 2011 (pre-FTA). U.S. imports from Korea account for 3.3% of overall U.S. imports in 2020.
     
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2020 were: vehicles ($21 billion), machinery ($17 billion), electrical machinery ($15 billion), plastics ($2.8 billion), and mineral fuels ($2.4 billion).
     
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Korea totaled $1.1 billion in 2020. Leading categories include: baked goods, cereal, and pasta ($261 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($166 million), manufactured tobacco ($126 million), non-alcoholic beverages (excluding juices) ($96 million), and food preparations ($78 million).
     
  • U.S. imports of services from Korea were an estimated $9.8 billion in 2020, 7.2% ($762 million) less than 2019, but 3% greater than 2010 levels. It was up roughly 7.5% from 2011 (pre-FTA). Leading services imports from Korea to the U.S. were in the transport, professional and management services, and personal, cultural, and recreational services sectors.
     

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was $24.8 billion in 2020, a 18.5% increase ($3.9 billion) over 2019.
     
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $8 billion with Korea in 2020, down 40% from 2019.
     

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea (stock) was $39.1 billion in 2019, a 0.2% increase from 2018.  U.S. direct investment in Korea is led by manufacturing, nonbank holding companies, and finance and insurance.
     
  • Korea's FDI in the United States (stock) was $61.8 billion in 2019, up 9.2% from 2018. Korea's direct investment in the U.S. is led by wholesale trade, manufacturing, and depository institutions.
     
  • Sales of services in Korea by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $16.4 billion in 2018 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Korea-owned firms were $35.9 billion.