Rulings, New Agreements, and Advisory Committee Assessments Alter the Course for the KORUS FTA
May brought several significant developments for the KORUS FTA. On May 10, the Bush Administration and Congress announced an agreement on a new trade policy, focusing in particular on labor and environmental issues pertinent to FTAs. In mid-May, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) issued its formal ruling on the safety of U.S. beef, a significant sticking point in bilateral trade relations. At the end of the month, the United States and Korea formally released the text of the agreement, while USTR published the assessments of the U.S.-Korea FTA by the 27 trade advisory committees.
Now that the text of the agreement has been released, along with the advisory committee assessments, the significant milestones that lie ahead include the formal signing of the agreement on June 30; the release of the ITC assessment of the economic impacts of the agreement; and the administration’s submission of implementing text to Congress, most likely in the fall. While these are some of the key events for the KORUS FTA, its longterm prospects for passage and implementation will also be affected by issues relating to the new trade policy agreement and the OIE ruling. The following is a brief look at these issues and some of the key provisions in the FTA text and the advisors’ assessments.