It's been a YEAR since Korea's free trade deal with the world's biggest economy -- the United States -- went into effect after years of back and forth negotiations.
So what has Korea gained from the implementation of the trade pact?
Arirang's Hwang Ji-hye joining us live in the studio to explain.
Ji-hye, how would you describe the impact of the KORUS FTA on Korea's overall trade?
Korea's exports to the U.S. have risen to nearly 54-billion U.S. dollars since March last year, an increase of more than 2-and-a-half percent from the same period a year earlier.
This is a huge jump, since the nation's total export volume fell one-and-a-half percent amid the sluggish global economy.
Imports of U.S. products, however, have dropped more than 7 percent, while Korea's total import volume fell less than 3 percent.
That's given Korea a trade surplus of almost 15 billion dollars, an increase of 44 percent.
It's no surprise then that a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that the majority of Korean exporters doing business with the U.S. say that they have benefited from the bilateral trade deal.
I recently visited one of these export companies, a manufacturer near the capital of Seoul, to take a closer look.
This manufacturing company exports its products to many countries, including the U.S..
Its CEO says the free trade deal with the U.S. has definitely produced new opportunities for his company.
"More foreign buyers have shown interest in our company since the Korea-U.S. free trade deal went into effect. We expect a sales increase of around 100-thousand dollars this year."
The industries that have benefited the most from the bilateral trade deal are the auto parts, petroleum products and machineries industries.
The auto parts industry has benefited the most with exports to the U.S. rising over 25-percent since the trade pact went into effect.
Petroleum products exports have also risen more than 30 percent, while machineries exports have gone up by almost 15 percent.
Experts say the bilateral trade pact with the U.S. served as a buffer against an overall drop in overseas demand.
"Korea's trade volume amounted to over one-trillion dollars last year for the second straight year due in part to the sharp rise in exports to the U.S., despite the global economic slump prompted by major economies such as the countries in Europe, which are seeing slow growth."