In 2010, domestic automakers shipped about 7,500 vehicles to Korea, representing less than one percent of its auto market. To add insult to injury, well over half a million Korean cars were sold here. But that could all change, according to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who told The Detroit News that a new trade agreement "will open new opportunities for Ford to reach even more Korean customers."

The U.S. - South Korea Trade Agreement was approved by Congress on October 12, while President Obama welcomed President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea to the White House yesterday.

The United Auto Workers also praised the move, which reduces both Korean and U.S. tariffs. South Korea will immediately cut its tax on U.S. cars from eight percent to four percent, and fully eliminate the tariff in the fifth year of the agreement. The U.S. will continue to tax Korean cars at 2.5 percent until the fifth year, when the tariff will be eliminated. Korea will also eliminate its 10-percent tariff on trucks immediately, while the 25-percent U.S. tariff on trucks will be phased out during the eighth to tenth years of the agreement.

Perhaps more importantly, the agreement also includes a provision to address differing safety and environmental standards. Domestic automakers will now be able to sell vehicles in Korea without certifying them to Korean regulations, under certain limitations. U.S. companies that sell fewer than 25,000 vehicles in Korea will be required to only meet U.S. safety regulations. And as long as American cars are within 19 percent of South Korean standards for fuel economy and emissions they will be considered legal for sale.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      More US cars in Korea? Keep dreaming, this just makes it easier for h/k to push their crap here.
        Raymond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Well the way it is structured nothing is stopping them or us from buying. Don't like it then tell everyone you not to buy them. If they won't buy our cars then that is their people as long as we have more of a fair shot that is all we can hope for.
      Randy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder if CORN will still be used to lower the amount of overall exports to SK from USA. If you're new to this the story goes; corn is exported to SK so because of Corn (a handful of farmers) the US auto industry (hundreds of thousands of jobs) cannot export at a meaningful volume to SK from the USA. BUT, SK can export all they want to the USA. Which is the one and only reason why I will not buy a SK vehicle. Plus, ultimately I support my country, my neighbor and my hypocrisy of democracy, as messed up as it is. Just wondering how that's gonna play out...
      johnb
      • 3 Years Ago
      doubt it.
      lasertekk
      • 3 Years Ago
      No comment on the agreement until I read it. But in the mean time, look at those two guys holding the umbrellas. They look absolutely bored. The one on the right (in picture), his face says, 'get me the hell out of here'.
      Ducman69
      • 3 Years Ago
      BS. Koreans will continue to buy Korean cars, so all this means is that Americans will be buying less domestic vehicles, and will have further incentive to buy Korean cars. Obama, want to fix the domestic auto industry and make us competitive? Stop propping up the UAW at every opportunity. There are plenty of excellent and motivated hard working people here in the United States that would like a career in the auto-industry... and right now they are working in Honda, Toyota, and Mercedes plants in the US. They could be working for US companies bringing in even more revenue, instead of having part of that stream heading back to Europe and Japan.
      imoore
      • 3 Years Ago
      i guess this means we'll finally start seeing those Hyundai and Kia pickups the companys have been openly denying yet secretly hiding from the public eye.
      ExoPlanet
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about 20% tariff on all imported cars entering the US and 0% tariff on cars exiting the US? ....Oh my bad, how silly...the US has no balls anymore for that to happen.
        Swede
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ExoPlanet
        Doing that would only mean that the tariffs would be added on the other side, and various complaints being made to the WTO.
      Tiberius1701
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yep that is a biiiig maybe. Just look at president soetoro's track record. Now do you feel better?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tiberius1701
        [blocked]
          Edward Ellsworth
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SNP As far as a national health plan is concerned, if done right, it can REDUCE health care costs. My mother is a doctor, and I can tell you what she told me: "I never know when or how much I'm going to get reimbursed by insurance, and I have to employ a full time staff member to negotiate with the insurance companies, so I have to raise my prices to compensate. If I charge $100 for a treatment, I might only get $50 from the insurance company, and who knows when they'll cough it up. I can't manage my cash flow." National health insurance solves this problem by taking the guesswork out: procedure X is reimbursed at rate Y within timeframe Z. Simple, no exceptions. This keeps costs down. Plus which, access to health care is a right that advanced countries grant their citizens. Profit should not be the primary motive. I think it's ridiculous that our system focuses on how best to make a buck off of people's health. I mean, your health is just fundamental. "Well, what about the death panels?!" Please. National health care is just a guaranteed minimum for all - if you want more or better care, you're free to purchase private supplements or pay out of pocket. But at least everyone gets SOMETHING. And don't tell me it's socialism - I lived in South Korea, which has the lowest taxes in the developed world (look it up) AND a national health plan. You have to pay a certain percent out of pocket, but there are no surprises (we've decided to apply this to your deductible) or denials of coverage, and the costs are affordable.
          Frank
          • 3 Years Ago
          "Obama is no Washington or Lincoln..." No, he's Carter version 2.0.
          That Kid
          • 3 Years Ago
          Every "achievement" of the Obama administration has been in name only. He pushed heavily for TARP as a candidate (once he was the Democratic nominee, he slyly cast himself as being part of that party's left wing when the neo-liberal Clinton was his big competitor), and once in office did little to make sure that there was any accountability attached to the money. Most of that money went to big investment banks who sucked it up, did almost nothing to increase the availability of credit and after thumbing their noses at the public, are teetering on the verge of insolvency again! He's FORCED people to buy for-profit insurance without a govt option because he won't stand up to insurance leeches or big pharma, despite having won the nomination by promising to support a public option and oppose the individual mandate! This wasn't the outcome of legislation he couldn't control, he bargained away the public option pre-emptively in a backroom deal with the pharmaceutical companies! He backed down almost immediately with BP when it was clear the American public was furious and the damage both long and short-term far exceeded $20 billion. His financial reform is so tepid that it doesn't even reinstate Glass-Steagall (which had it not been repealed would've likely prevented the crash) and with the GOP House and deviant, dysfunctional Senate its enforcement will probably remain severely underfunded or even negated by acts of Congress. He refuses to prosecute those on Wall Street who have acted criminally for their crimes which have had a disastrous impact on this country, even going so far as to suggest that they may not have broken the law! He believes free trade has a stimulating effect on the economy when it has never done anything but siphon away American jobs and increase corporate profits. He believes that govt austerity in a recession is stimulative, for chrissake! He is laying the groundwork for the chiseling away and eventual elimination of SS & Medicare- something so insidious that no president with an (R) after their name could dare hope to achieve it! He continues to engage in wars which have long had massive public opposition, including undeclared drone wars in countries we are nominally allied with and an illegal war in Libya to boost European oil interests and those of companies like Suez Environnement....at the same time saying it is necessary and sensible to cut long-established and popular social programs here at home! The man is a snake, a liar, and a corporate tool who has stabbed those who voted for him in the back at every turn and then played helpless to make believe he couldn't have gotten a better outcome. Out with him, and let's have a Republican who owns up to their corrupt and treasonous agenda, rather than a closeted one who likes to wear a "progressive" face.
          Tiberius1701
          • 3 Years Ago
          Rah rah rah.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          That Kid
          • 3 Years Ago
          Not to mention that "not hosing the autoworkers" neglects the fact that GM & Chrysler rank-and-file were forced to take a pay cut to appease the right-to-work demons in the Senate. Which also brings to mind the fact that wages have continued to stagnate or fall (even worse than they have continuously since the early 70s) throughout his presidency as commodities prices and even corporate profits rise. I do not know what gives this guy the gall to run a re-election campaign, considering how many of the people who elected him were not regular voters- and most of these people are furious with him beyond words! Unless of course he wants to collect as much money from the banksters as he can before he is forced to bow out, a la LBJ...
          That Kid
          • 3 Years Ago
          You certainly are a strange political creature, counting your blessings for the Bush presidency being over while at the same time offering a defense for the Obama administration which has left all his policies virtually intact. Sorry, but on bread-and-butter issues Obama is not even two ticks to the left of Bush's scorched earth ideology. That is not good enough. That is not even CLOSE to good enough in these desperate times. And the "progressive strides" he's made on social issues are small enough to hardly make a difference: do you honestly believe the real powerbrokers in this country would adamantly fight the repeal of DADT? Your defense of the auto bailouts says it all really. We're supposed to be thankful that the auto bailouts didn't force the layoffs of tens of thousands of rank and file American workers? They should be the ones made to pay the price when their wages had *nothing to do with the failure of the companies they worked for*? Significant pay and benefit cuts don't count as hosing these people when they were not the ones who ran their companies into the ground? What, pray tell, would the point of bailing out the automakers be if the concern wasn't preserving American jobs? To make sure the shareholders stayed whole? What utter crap. And don't even get me started on how judiciously this administration has handed out TARP money. We are supposed to have faith in Timothy Geithner who not only had a too-cozy relationship with the big city banks as head of the Federal Reserve branch of NY, but who also helped shape TARP behind the scenes under Hank Paulson's tenure, to fairly and honestly administer the dispensing of hundreds of billions of dollars? Gimme a break! We can all be thankful for one thing: in times as hard as these, those who are not economically comfortable (which is most people) cannot afford to continue to be as ignorant as you are. Obama's support, particularly outside of the blind Democratic faithful, is crumbling and dunces like you seem to make up the last block of tepid, lukewarm supporters.
      DrEvil
      • 3 Years Ago
      These trade agreements are made to help american manufacturers gain access to otherwise closed markets. They in turn at the prodding of Wall Street, use this as an opportunity to take advantage of cheap labor in those markets and ship all of our manufacturing jobs there. The corporations benefit, the investors benefits and the American worker loses. Net result is America loses. Hopefully, we will one day get a President that looks after what's good for America and Americans. What good does super rich corporations, super bankrupt Treasury and super unemployed workers do?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DrEvil
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        RocketRed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DrEvil
        The UAW, the labor union of people who make cars and car parts, and one of the most protectionist political organizations in the United States, does not agree.
          DrEvil
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          It does not matter who agrees or disagrees, the ACTUAL current economic/employment situation proves them all wrong. The facts are the facts. There you go dropping labels "Protectionist". I am not against trade agreements, just against trade agreements where the American economy ends up the loser. The FACT is the last 10+ years, did not benefit America or her economy.
      skeptic
      • 3 Years Ago
      I doubt that more US cars will be sold in South Korea. My understanding (based on some readings) is that the problem is not just one about tariffs - it's more to do with the closed Korean society, where buying foreign is looked down upon, and society can be hard on you for picking up the wrong car. The only exceptions to that seem to be towards very high end luxury cars. And this is not limited to the US manufacturers. The same attitude would be displayed towards Japanese manufacturers too. This would be similar to the social ostracizing that one could experience if one were to buy an import in an union dominated area in the US... but the issue is much more limited due to the open nature of US society.
        AngeloD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skeptic
        When I lived in Korea back in the 90's, the average Korean would have done just about anything to get their hands on an American made or European car. US Service personnel did a brisk business selling their personally owned vehicles ordered from AAFES to Korean citizens after the mandatory two year wait. In fact, many times a Korean citizen would be fronting the money for a high end Volvo or BMW bought by a US Serviceman in the RoK. I would love to own a Ford or GM franchise in the RoK.
      Mark Fergel
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/13/business/trade-agreements/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
      Kevin W
      • 3 Years Ago
      "while the 25-percent U.S. tariff on trucks will be phased out during the eighth to tenth years of the agreement." WHOA! Did I just read that the Chicken Tax is finally going away??? Even though I'll be almost 50 by then, is it in the cards that I can one day buy a foreign-made truck in this country???
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin W
        Only if it is Korean, Mexican or Canadian. It doesn't extend to all countries.
    • Load More Comments