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NDTO News Article

NDTO Companies Sell Bean Sprouts to Fill KORUS FTA Quota

North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) IP soybean exporters have been sought out by the Korean government to fulfill bean sprout quotas set by the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.  Three exporters will fulfill half of the total US quota and have signed contracts to export 1600MT of identity-preserved soybeans, totaling approximately $2 million, to Korea in 2015.

The Korean Bean Sprouts Association (KBSA) first visited the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) in Fall 2013 in search of high-quality, identity-preserved soybeans for importation into Korean for food use as bean sprouts.  NDTO introduced KBSA to a number of soybean exporters, and a year – and four tours of North Dakota – later, KBSA has signed contracts with three NDTO exporters to import 1600MT of soybeans in 2015 and plans to increase that amount in 2016.

KBSA turned to NDTO to fulfill a quota outlined by the Korean government as part of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS.  KORUS was signed into effect in 2012 to help increase trade flow between the United States and South Korea, doing so by reducing tariffs and trade boundaries on a number of products.

In the case of soybeans, Korea had previously protected its domestic growers by putting a 489 percent import duty on foreign soybeans.  Under the KORUS FTA, Korea is required to import a defined amount of soybeans from the United States under a reduced tariff.  KBSA was given a quota of 2900MT in 2015 at 3 percent tariff – and in the coming year, half of those sprouting beans will be shipped directly from our region.

The relationship between KSBA and NDTO is just one example of how the KORUS FTA has greatly benefitted our state.  When KORUS went into effect in 2012, North Dakota’s exports of agricultural and construction equipment to Korea immediately tripled to $20 million.  Exports of barley from North Daktoa to Korea were nonexistent until 2012, and since then over $1.2 million of North Dakota barley has been shipped to the country.

North Dakota is one of seven states in the nation that sends more than 60 percent of its exports to free trade partners, such as Korea.  Exports to FTA partners of the US are up 57 percent in 2009, and as of 2013, 46 percent of all US exports go to these partner regions.

To learn more about doing business with Korea, contact Jiwon Kim at