The present relationship between the United States and South Korea is the result of a topsy-turvy 60 year-history that began with the American intervention in the Korean War.
The two countries have come a long way since the end of the war and surveys from 2012 show that South Korea has become the country in Asia whose residents look most approvingly on US policy.
The current leadership of both countries has labored hard to strengthen the ties between the two countries. 4 years ago, President Obama visited Korea, called the country “one of America’s closest allies and greatest friends” and announced a “joint vision for the alliance of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea” alongside Korean President Lee.
Without a doubt, America’s increasingly positive perception of South Korea is solidly backed up by economic reasons and policy decision. Especially in a time when America’s other close ally in the region, Japan, struggles to recover from nuclear and economic disasters, South Korea emerged as an increasingly important economic partner. The KORUS, a U.S.-Korea trade agreement signed on 15th March 2012, can be considered the most commercially significant free trade agreement since the enactment of NAFTA, in 1994. Under the new agreement, nearly 80% of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products became duty free while most remaining tariffs were agreed to be eliminated by 2022.
As a result, the United States now ranks first among South Korean trading partners and the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the reduction of Korean tariffs and tariff-rate quotas on goods alone adds $10 billion to $12 billion to America’s annual GDP.
However, not everything went as well as policy makers predicted. When KORUS was designed it was supposed to be an especially powerful tool to increase access to South Korea’s auto manufacturing and IT sectors and projected to create nearly 70 000 new American jobs. After a year and a half since is signing only 4000 American cars were sold in South Korea while almost 1.3 million Korean cars sold in the US. Similarly, the US trade deficit with South Korea kept rising with imports from South Korea growing at nearly the same pace (12%) as US exports to South Korea were decreasing.
Nevertheless, the first bilateral trade agreement with a North Asian country in U.S. history underscores the U.S. commitment to establishing strong trade relationships in the Asia-Pacific region and increases opportunities to US corporations in a market with extensive growth potential. Many in the field of South Korea-US affairs—including the leaders of the two countries—agree that the alliance and the economic and political relations between both countries have never been stronger than are today and that the way ahead is promising and favorable for both countries. And signs of an increasing American-Korean business are visible throughout the business world.
EVS Translations CEO, Edward Vick for instances notes that “from June 2012 to June 2013 we saw a threefold increase of requests for Korean translation and interpretation projects at our Atlanta office; a clear sign that the business community is actively pursuing business in Korea.”
Six decades after the end of the Korean War, the US and South Korea have entered a level of partnership unprecedented in the past. Become part of a growing network of Korean- American commerce and exchange and capitalize on the opportunities that come with it. For more than twenty years we have helped companies navigate FDA inspections, compliance audits and other challenges that come with an international footprint.