WASHINGTON — The United States and South Korea have reached an agreement on the largest trade pact in more than a decade, a highly coveted deal the Obama administration hopes will boost American exports and create tens of thousands of US jobs.
After a week of marathon negotiations, representatives from both countries broke through a stalemate Friday morning on outstanding issues related to the automobile industry, which have been a sticking point in the talks. The agreement would be the largest US trade deal since NAFTA, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and would bolster US economic ties with South Korea, the world's 15th largest economy.South Korea is agreeing to allow the United States to lift a 2.5 percent tariff on Korean cars in five years, instead of cutting the tariff immediately. The agreement also allows each US automaker to export 25,000 cars to South Korea as long as they meet US federal safety standards and allows Washington to continue a 25 percent tariff on trucks for eight years and then phase it out by the 10th year. South Korea would be required to eliminate its 10 percent tariff on US trucks immediately.