On May 10, 2010, two high-ranking senators, a Democrat and a Republican, sent a joint letter to President Obama asking him to take action on the stalled free trade agreement with South Korea. In their letter, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) said that the FTA would be an economic boon to the U.S. and would show solidarity with a close U.S. ally. The letter noted:
The U.S. International Trade Commission estimated in September 2007 that U.S. merchandise exports to Korea would increase by $10-12 billion annually as a result of the KORUS FTA and that services exports would expand. The potential for innovation through competition and collaboration is also immense.
Through inaction, the United States will cede Korea’s vast markets to other countries, a luxury that we cannot afford. In 2004, China displaced the United States as Korea’s number one trading partner. Recently, the European Union and India signed agreements with South Korea to lower trade barriers. As these countries effectively gain preferential access compared to American products, the United States risks missing significant opportunities, while other countries’ economies grow and create jobs from trade expansion.
CEI has long argued for ratification of the agreement. Here’s a CEI issue analysis that sets out more detailed arguments for the Korea FTA and here’s a short piece on why the three pending FTAs should be ratified.