The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM Korea) was very pleased to welcome Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and his delegation of four distinguished Members of Congress to Korea this week. Their visit symbolizes the strong ties that underline the U.S.-Korea bilateral relationship – and also the expectation that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will soon be taken up by the legislatures in both countries for a vote.
AMCHAM Korea is the oldest and largest foreign business association in Korea. We are a fully private organization, and we have around 2,000 individual members coming from about 1,000 companies that span all sectors of the economy – aerospace, automotive, agriculture, consumer products, financial services, healthcare, education, professional services, and many more. Our member companies are big and small and employee hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers throughout the United States.
Our key message to Secretary Locke and his delegation was that early ratification of the KORUS FTA is essential for the continued success of U.S. companies in the $1 trillion dollar Korean economy. Our members emphasized that they compete head-to-head with European companies here, and once the Korea-EU FTA goes into effect on July 1, European companies will have a significant cost advantage over their U.S. competitors. In addition, companies in the Congressional districts of the Members who accompanied the Secretary noted that they are already looking at changes in their supply chains as a result of the Korea-EU and KORUS FTAs. If KORUS goes into effect soon, this could mean significant increase in sourcing from U.S. suppliers.