Happy 4th Anniversary Korea US Trade Agreement: Thanks for Doubling our Trade Deficit

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2016 
Contact: Paola Masman, Media Director 
202-688-5145 ext 2, paola@prosperousamerica.org
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Washington ~ Today America is celebrating the 4th Anniversary of the Korea-US (KORUS) Trade Agreement with a bilateral trade deficit that doubled. This single cold, hard fact shows that the current Trans-Pacific Partnership promises by the Obama Administration, which are recycled from the KORUS agreement, are not credible.

The KORUS agreement was passed by Congress in 2011.  Census data show that our Korea-US trade deficit was $14.7 billion that year.  The deal was implemented into law on March 16, 2012.  At the end of 2015, our trade deficit nearly doubled to $28.4 billion.

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“President Obama and Congressional leaders promised that the KORUS agreement would improve our trade performance and job creation. They were wrong,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA). “We now know the KORUS agreement was a loser, not a winner.  The TPP agreement recently signed by the President is based upon the same economic and theoretical template as the Korea deal and will also be a loser.”

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has published data on its website which gives a false impression to Congress and the public that the Korea trade results are positive. The USTR’s misleading method cherry picks small slices of trade data, excludes imports, and claims positive export results in only those areas. Nowhere does the USTR acknowledge the vast majority of poor performing trade categories or the aggregate worsening of the trade deficit.

Here are President Obama’s 2010 promises upon his signing the KORUS deal:

"Essential to that is opening new markets around the world to products that are made in America.  Because we don't simply want to be an economy that consumes other countries' goods. I'm not interested in signing trade agreements for the sake of signing trade agreements.” Deal with South Korea could create 70,000 American jobs, $10 billion in exports, Obama Promises, Daily News, 12/4/10.

“Our exports to Korea have declined, our imports have drastically increased, and our trade deficit massively worsened,” continued Stumo. “This is true for agricultural products and for manufactured goods.”

Special interest groups representing transnational businesses, Wall Street and transnational agri-business promoted job creation and economic growth for the KORUS deal and continue to do so for the TPP.  The public should not believe those claims. 

“While the establishment elites are decrying voter distrust of trade deals in the 2016 presidential campaign, the data show that the voters are more rational than the elites,” said Stumo.

The Coalition for a Prosperous America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the interests of 2.7 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members.

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  • commented 2016-03-16 07:50:55 -0400
    Just by looking at the graph by 2017 or 18 we should be at about a -$60B trade deficit with South Korea. I know we all like their products but can we really afford to have these massive trade deficits as a society?