Securitizing trade: The case of the Korea-US free trade agreement

Yul Sohn, Min Gyo Koo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The Korea-US free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) of 2007 clearly shows how countries simultaneously pursue economic benefits and strategic interests in trade negotiations. This study argues that the surprise launch and the successful conclusion of the KORUS FTA illustrate the joint efforts by the United States and the Republic of Korea to re-securitize their bilateral economic relations. Security and strategic calculations held by top policy-makers on both sides catalyzed the official launch of FTA negotiations by removing a number of longstanding trade irritants such as Korea's screen quotas and ban on US beefs. At the post-negotiation stage, however, the lack of bipartisanship - particularly in the United States-to provide trade liberalization for their allies in favor of their own broader strategic interests has led to the legislative stalemate of executive efforts at re-securitization of trade relations. This study concludes that the stalemated ratification process shows the erosion, not the strength, of US power to provide security and trade liberalization as public goods.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlcr009
Pages (from-to)433-460
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Relations of the Asia-Pacific
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Securitizing trade: The case of the Korea-US free trade agreement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this