Days after word came down that a new tax information exchange agreement renders the finalization of a U.S.-Panama free trade agreement imminent (see this week’s eNews for full story), it appears an accord has been reached in a long-delayed pact with South Korea.

Widespread reports surfaced Friday that the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement (FTA) has been completed. Sticking points involving the auto industry, including plans to phase out the United States’ 2.5% tariff on South Korean-produced vehicles within five years, appeared to have been ironed out. The U.S. auto lobby and trade unions have staunchly opposed the agreement, calling it imbalanced. Their critics have called objections protectionist. The trade deal had yet to be ratified late afternoon (EST) and, as such, specifics of the final pact remained murky heading into the weekend.

Source: Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer