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Published January 25, 2011, 11:31 AM

U.S., South Korea close free trade talks

TOKYO — Better late than never. In December, the United States and South Korea concluded negotiations on free trade agreement. If passed by the two legislatures, KORUS, as it popularly is known, will provide an economic boost for the two countries.

TOKYO — Better late than never.

In December, the United States and South Korea concluded negotiations on free trade agreement. If passed by the two legislatures, KORUS, as it popularly is known, will provide an economic boost for the two countries.

It could revive enthusiasm in the U.S. for more trade deals, pump new momentum into stalled global trade talks and strengthen ties between the U.S. and South Korea at a time of increasing tension in Northeast Asia. KORUS is a strategic agreement, not just an economic one.

KORUS is the largest trade agreement South Korea has signed, the largest for the U.S. since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992 and the first U.S. FTA with a major Asian economy.

KORUS will lift tariffs on about 95 percent of each country’s tariffs on industrial and consumer goods within five years.

Negotiations yielded a compromise by which the U.S. will lift its 2.5 percent tariff on South Korean cars in five years, instead of immediately.

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