Wall Street Journal editorial, “Missed Trade Opportunity“:

Congratulations to the European Union and South Korea, which signed a new trade deal this week. There but for the foolishness of U.S. protectionists could have gone America.

The EU-Korea deal gives U.S. companies a lot to envy. Once the deal is mostly phased in by 2016, it will eliminate annual tariffs totaling $2.2 billion a year on European exports to Korea. Roughly half of those reductions will take effect on the first day of implementation….[snip]

Korea’s high barriers to auto imports have long been the bane of Detroit, and a prime excuse for blocking ratification of America’s trade deal with Korea. Seoul’s opening to Europe shows how self-defeating those American objections are. The EU pact eliminates Korea’s 8% tariff on imported cars from Europe—a tariff American companies will continue to face—and also tackles Seoul’s notorious technical trade barriers, such as safety standards that deter imports. standards.

The National Association of Manufacturers released a statement reacting to the EU-Korea agreement, quoting our vice president for international economic affairs, Frank Vargo. He said:

As the U.S. sits on the sidelines, nearly every other industrial nation in the world is achieving free trade agreements that reduce barriers to their companies, open markets and ultimately allow these nations to expand their economies. The EU-Korea agreement will cut industrial duties or taxes on their products. This puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage and costs jobs.

U.S., EU Manufacturing Exports to S. Korea (Source: Census Bureau)

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