Korean envoy: Trade pact a boon for Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Korean envoy: Trade pact a boon for Nevada

Nick Coltrain
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

The new free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea could be a boon to small and medium businesses hoping to get into international trade, South Korea’s ambassador to the United States told the Nevada Appeal’s editorial board on Thursday.

Han Duck-soo was in Carson City with Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, while touring Northern Nevada on Thursday to explain the business impact and potential of the trade agreement.

The tour included a discussion at the University of Nevada, Reno, moderated by members of the business college there, and meetings with representatives for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Han said he expects the elimination of tariffs between the countries to immediately benefit Nevada’s agricultural industry and eventually expand into increased mineral exports and machinery, especially fuel and lube pumps. Han rattled off the tariff percentages that are soon to go away for a number of imports but encouraged all businesses to explore the agreement.

“Rather than just sitting on our hands, we should really get together to explore the opportunities and go out and take advantage of these new opportunities,” Han said.

And the benefits will also expand beyond pure economics and into greater cooperation between the two nations and their people, Han said.

“Economics go first, but with the tourism and the cooperation among educational institutions,” he said.

He heralded the free-trade agreement as “the biggest since NAFTA,” referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The accord, which will take effect as early as Jan. 1, will boost exports by as much as $10.9 billion in its first year, according to an estimate from the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Han also praised Democrat Reid, the Senate majority leader, for ushering the agreement through the Senate even though he did not vote for it. The senator has cited basic opposition to such agreements. Han said he was hopeful that the agreement would be successful enough to change even Reid’s mind.

“I believe we can convert him,” Han said.