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U.S.-S.Korea free trade pact to take effect on March 15

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09:38, February 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk announced on Tuesday that the country's trade agreement with South Korea would enter in force on March 15 this year.

"Entry into force of this agreement will open up (South) Korea' s one trillion dollars' economy for American workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers while also strengthening our economic partnership with a key Asia-Pacific ally," said Kirk.

In a few short weeks, he noted, the trade deal would start to create tens of thousands of export-supported jobs with better wages in the United States.

On March 15, almost 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial products to South Korea will become duty-free, including aerospace equipment, agricultural equipment, auto parts, building products, chemicals, consumer goods, electrical equipment, environmental goods, all footwear and travel goods, paper products, scientific equipment and shipping and transportation equipment.

In addition, almost two-thirds of U.S. exports of agricultural products to South Korea will become duty-free, including wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, whey for feed use, hides and skins, cotton, cherries, pistachios, almonds, orange juice, grape juice, and wine.

The agreement also includes a number of significant commitments, including opening up South Korea's 580-billion-dollar services market.

The pact was signed nearly five years ago but faced tough resistance from some industrial and agricultural interests in both countries. Some say it may still face hurdles in South Korea, where the opposition party has said it will try to repeal it.

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