Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement after his meeting today with South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Ahn Ho-Young:

“South Korea is a key U.S. ally and, in many ways, continued peace and prosperity in Asia hinges on a continued deepening of our security and economic ties. Having visited South Korea in 2014, and being impressed by the strength of our alliance and by South Korea’s dramatic transformation in several decades from a developing country to one of the world’s most prosperous countries, it was my honor to welcome Ambassador Ahn to my office today on behalf of the people of Florida.  Our state enjoys strong trade links with South Korea that have only deepened in recent years.  I reiterated my commitment to the U.S.-Korea alliance, and we discussed how we can continue working closely together to deal with regional challenges, especially the threat posed by North Korea.

“I also thanked the ambassador for his government’s ongoing cooperation in making sure that Florida’s citrus farmers continue to enjoy the benefits of the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement. Over the past two years, we’ve been able to work through implementation issues related to this agreement, which now has been hugely beneficial to Florida companies and communities. It is important that the lines of communication between us remain open so that nothing stands in the way of our continued trade and cooperation. I wholeheartedly reject the claims of those who try to argue that the U.S.-Korean alliance has not benefited America strategically and economically.”

BACKGROUND: RUBIO SUCCESSFULLY PRESSURED SOUTH KOREA TO END ITS ORANGE JUICE TARIFF AGAINST FLORIDA’S CITRUS FARMERS

  • In early 2014, Rubio visited South Korea, where he pressed officials there on a harmful tariff that was harming Florida orange juice producers. Upon returning home, Rubio helped fast-track a solution by urging South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young and his colleagues to tour Florida facilities and resolve their concerns, which they did a month later. As the Orlando Sentinel reported on April 26, 2014, “A tariff dispute between the U.S. and South Korea over frozen orange juice concentrate was quietly resolved…”   
  • Last year, the Tampa Tribune reported that as a result of this free trade agreement, Florida natural juice sales reportedly have gone from $4 million to $40 million in three years and the sale of fresh grapefruit went from $1 million to nearly $5 million over the same period.

Below are photos taken from Rubio’s meeting with South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Ahn Ho-Young:

Note: Photos can be credited to the office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.