WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States today applauded the U.S. and Korean governments for the agreement to fully reopen the Korean market for U.S. beef exports.  Resolution of this matter clears a major obstacle to Congressional consideration of the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

“Now that the beef issue has been settled, the U.S. Congress should move quickly to approve the KORUS FTA, a high quality trade agreement that will bring about tangible and immediate benefits for the U.S. distilled spirits industry,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Christine LoCascio.

Under the agreement, Korea’s 20% ad valorem tariffs on Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, which are the United States’ leading spirits exports, will be eliminated immediately upon entry into force.  Tariffs on all other categories of U.S. spirits, such as vodka, gin, rum, etc., will be eliminated five years after the agreement enters into force.

“With a retail spirits market valued at almost $10.7 billion in 2007, Korea is one of the most promising markets in Asia for U.S. spirits exports,” said LoCascio.  “Prompt entry into force of the FTA will give U.S. spirits products a competitive advantage in this potentially very lucrative market.”

Exports of Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey accounted for the overwhelming majority of U.S. spirits exports to Korea in 2007.  U.S. exports to Korea were valued at $6.6 million in 2007 (FAS value), a 98% increase over 2006 levels; Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey accounted for approximately 74% (in value terms) of total exports.