The U.S.–Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS)
Monday, 4 April 2011
Jose Fernandez, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Fernandez spoke on the importance and mutual benefits of the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Fernandez started by noting that the 2010 KORUS renegotiations were put in place to ensure that U.S. companies can compete in a fair and free method and to provide everyone with greater transparency to the agreement. Although the KORUS was first signed between the United States at the Republic of Korea (South Korea) on June 30, 2007, it cannot take effect until it gains U.S. Congressional approval in the House and the Senate. To prevent a ratification stalemate from occurring again, the team responsible for the KORUS consulted different stakeholders, adjusted terms, and went back to the table with South Korea to discuss controversial issues. By November 2010, the United States was able to create a pact that was not only winning bipartisan support but was also a more advantageous deal for automakers. Fernandez urged the United States to quickly ratify the KORUS and show that it can compete in the global market. Charles K. Armstrong, Professor of Modern East Asian and International History in the Department of History and Director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, moderated the event.