In March 2012, the South Korea- US KORUS FTA eliminated a 24 per cent tariffs on US cherries. By the end of 2012, 5,897 tonnes of US cherries had been exported to South Korea, almost double the quantity the previous year. The cherries are sold by major retailers including Lotte Mart, E-Mart and the QVC home shopping channel.
Ninety per cent of the cherries are shipped by air. One cherry grower chartered two Boeing 747 flights specifically for exports to Seoul, because the cargo space on scheduled commercial flights was full up.
Removal of an 8 per cent tariff on almonds has led to a 22 per cent increase in exports of the crop from the US to Korea. This has benefitted Californian almond growers who produce 80 per cent of the world’s total crop.
Removal of a 15 per cent wine tariff increased exports by 26 per cent in 2012, compared to the previous year.
In 2012, total exports of high value agricultural goods from the US to South Korea totalled a record $208 billion.