Ford Runs Ad Campaign Targeting Korea Free Trade
Although the Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2007, it was not submitted to Congress for ratification, in some degree because automakers have objected to some of the terms.
Ford's newspaper ads, running in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Washington DC among other states, urge changes to the agreement to boost US auto exports to Korea.
"If the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement isn't fixed, it would allow Korea to remain one of the most closed automotive markets in the world," the ad says. "Americans should accept nothing less."
Ford concomitantly launched a website called "Free Trade" promoting its campaign.
The automaker noted that Korea will export more than 500,000 vehicles to the United States this year, while US exports to Korea in 2010 are lower than 7,500 units. The website contains a short analysis of import vs domestic market share in Korea pointing out that Korea's closed auto market creates a trade imbalance. Ford criticized the Korean Government's practices discouraging auto imports through intervening in the currency market, funding press anti-import auto initiatives and raising insurance rates on imports more than on domestic makes, fuel economy and emissions regulations.
Korean officials have said that the value of auto imports has been rising and noted that General Motors owns GM Daewoo, Korea's fourth largest auto manufacturer. The Korean embassy in Washington had no comment on the subject.
Through August, the US auto sector trade deficit with Korea was US$6.8 billion, up from US$4.8 billion over the same period in 2009, in spite of US auto exports to Korea increasing to US$464 million from US$223 million in the same period in 2009.