The American Soybean Association (ASA) lauded a trade agreement reached with the Republic of Korea for creating landmark opportunities for U.S. soy, meat, and poultry exports. ASA leaders had numerous discussions with U.S. negotiators prior to conclusion of the historic free trade agreement on April 1.

The agreement offers immediate duty-free access to U.S. soybeans for crushing and to U.S. soybean meal. And for the first time, producers of U.S. food-grade soybeans would have access to the South Korean market outside of the import monopoly created by the Korean State Trading Enterprise. Tariffs on refined soybean oil would be eliminated over 5 years, and tariffs on crude soybean oil would be eliminated over 10 years.

“U.S. negotiators worked hard to achieve ASA’s objectives,” said ASA President Rick Ostlie, a soybean grower from Northwood, N.D. “U.S. soybean growers will also benefit because this agreement is expected to generate millions of dollars of new meat and poultry exports. From a U.S. grower perspective, perhaps the only disappointment is that the highly sensitive rice trade was excluded from the agreement. On balance, however, the agreement is very positive because it will further open South Korea’s market to U.S. exports of soy and other products.”

The Administration has indicated it will not submit the agreement to the Congress until the Korean market is fully re-opened to U.S. beef. “The ASA looks forward to the full resumption of U.S. beef exports so that the agreement can move forward,” Ostlie said.

ASA is the policy advocate and collective voice of its 24,000 producer-members on domestic and international issues of importance to all U.S. soybean farmers.