KORUS agreement signed; McKinney notes no changes to agriculture
President Donald Trump and Korean President Moon Jae-In signed a revised Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement today in New York, and Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted MicKinney noted there will be no changes in U.S.-Korean agricultural relations.
“We welcome the successful conclusion of negotiations between our governments that have resulted in amendments and modifications to improve the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement,” the two presidents said in a released statement.
Meanwhile, in Washington, McKinney told the United Fresh Produce Association that most agriculture groups in both the United States and Korea did not want any changes to the agreement and that there would be none.
McKinney said U.S. rice growers would have liked some changes but didn’t want to create broader anxiety surrounding the agreement so did not put demands on U.S. negotiators.
He said he hopes the agreement will help agriculture with problems at ports in Korea.
In other remarks, McKinney said:
▪ There will be “lots and lots of good” from the agreement with Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
▪ Agriculture is not the cause of current slowdown in NAFTA negotiations with Canada, but there will have to be increased dairy access, and negotiators are “getting close” to agreement to allow U.S. wines in stores in British Columbia.
▪ He is “very worried” about U.S. relations with the European Union, particularly on pesticides that make it difficult to get U.S. pears and apples into Europe.
▪ The Codex Alimentarius — internationally recognized food production and safety standards — is one of the most important international agreements ever reached.
▪ The relationship with China is “not a trade war,” but the conflict will be prolonged, with months passing before there is likely to be another negotiating session.
McKinney said he has visited 16 countries since last October, often meeting with officials about conflicts with the United States. But he added that he goes in “with a smile on my face.”
“I am a happy warrior,” McKinney said, adding that he expects the number of Agriculture Department trade missions to increase next year.