Congress has approved the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which will eliminate 95% of tariffs and other barriers to trade between the U.S. and South Korea within three years, with the remainder to be eliminated within 10 years. One of the first to go is a 15% tariff on US wines imported to South Korea, along with the 45% tariff on grape juice concentrate.

Industry groups hope this will allow California wineries to become more competitive in a growing market, which has seen a 177% increase in import consumption since 2000.  U.S. imports to Korea rank third in wine imports behind France and Chile. 90% of the wine imported from the U.S. comes from California. The eliminated tariffs will also decrease excise and other taxes paid on wine imports as well, further decreasing the costs of US wines in the Korean market.

More information on the treaty is available on the Office of the United States Trade Representative Website.


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