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Korea fourth-largest foreign provider of jobs for US

29 September 2016 No Comment

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement has taken jobs from Americans. But a recent U.S. government report is telling the opposite.

In its “Jobs supported by export destination 2015” report, the U.S. Department of Commerce said: “Korea is the country that made the fourth-largest contribution to jobs created in the United States.” The report estimated about 890,000 new jobs were created thanks to U.S. exports between 2009 and 2015.

In July, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) also issued a report that said the Korea-U.S. FTA has improved the U.S. trade balance by $15.7 billion.

According to the commerce department report, Korea contributed to creating 55,000 jobs in the U.S. during the seven-year period, recording the fourth-largest number after Mexico (296,000), China (184,000) and Canada (110,000). Following Korea were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (31,000 each), Belgium (27,000), Hong Kong (26,000) and Vietnam (21,000).

About 560,000 U.S. jobs were secured thanks to free trade accords in 2009 but the corresponding number jumped more than six times to over 3 million last year, the report said.

If the export of services is added to commodity exports, more than 4 million jobs were secured by various free trade agreements, it estimated. Besides Korea, the U.S. has concluded FTAs with many other countries, including Mexico, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

The Korea-U.S. FTA went into effect in 2012. In is July report, the U.S. ITC estimated the bilateral free trade accord improved the U.S. trade balance by $15.7 billion last year. The U.S. recorded a trade deficit of $28.3 billion in two-way trade with Korea in 2015 but the red-ink figure might have swelled to $44 billion had it not been for the bilateral free trade pact, the commission said.

In the run-up to the presidential election, trade protectionism is gaining forces in the United States, with major candidates opposing new free trade pacts and calling for revisiting the existing ones.

The Republican runner, in particular, said last month, “Because of the free trade agreement with South Korea, the U.S. trade deficit has redoubled and 100,000 U.S. jobs have disappeared,” claiming FTAs push up the U.S. jobless rate. On Sept. 15, Trump went further to compare the Korea-U.S. FTA to a “disaster,” pledging that if he becomes president, he would “order the commerce secretary to investigate all examples that violate trade treaties and harm U.S. workers.”

Officials at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy welcomed the recent U.S. report. “We will be able to use the DoC report as the official material to refute groundless allegations raised by some Americans,” a ministry official said Tuesday.

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