United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced in late February that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement would enter into force — that is, take effect — on March 15, 2012. This announcement followed the completion over the Presidents’ Day weekend of work by the United States and Korea to review each other’s laws and regulations related to the implementation of the agreement. The U.S. has exchanged diplomatic notes with Korea in which each side confirmed that they had completed their applicable legal requirements and procedures for the agreement’s entry into force.
On March 15, almost two-thirds of U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea became duty-free, including inshell and shelled almonds, which have previously faced an 8% tariff rate. In 2010-2011, California shipped 32.07 million pounds of almonds to Korea, an increase of 25% from the previous year.