On September 19, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it intends to seek environment consultations with Korea under the Environment Chapter of the United States – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The announcement said:
Today’s announcement follows the release of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biennial report to Congress identifying nations for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, pursuant to the Moratorium Protection Act (MPA). In its report, NMFS has identified Korea for “failing to apply sufficient sanctions to deter its vessels from engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures adopted by” the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Under the KORUS Environment Chapter, Korea is obligated to “adopt, maintain, and implement” measures to fulfill its obligations under CCAMLR. The United States is entitled to request consultations under Article 20.9 with respect to “any matter” arising under the Chapter, such as NMFS’ identification of Korea for failing to apply sufficient sanctions to deter Korean vessels.