South Korea, US Start Talks on Revising 'Horrible' Trade Deal

23 August 2017, 12:33 | Isaac Mcdaniel

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks at a news conference prior to the inaugural round of North American Free Trade A

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks at a news conference prior to the inaugural round of North American Free Trade A

South Korea proposed that experts from the two nations conduct a study on the effects of their trade pact and the cause of US trade deficits with South Korea.

"For many, many years, the United States has suffered through massive trade deficits. we'll be changing that", Trump said during a June 30 summit with new South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

Kim noted that the USA insisted its trade deficit with South Korea more than doubled due to the trade pact and demanded correction of trade imbalances in the areas of automobiles, steel and information technology.

South Korean and US officials failed to agree on Tuesday on how to move forward on discussions over their five-year-old free trade agreement that Washington is seeking to change to help cut its trade deficit with Asia's fourth-largest economy.

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Seoul could not concede to Washington's "one-sided" demands, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong told reporters following the special session of a joint committee on their bilateral free trade agreement.

While President Trump blames the KORUS FTA for causing the US' deepening $27.6 billion trade deficit, the Korean government continues to maintain its stance that the trade deal has mutually benefited both parties since its induction. Mr. Kim said both sides reaffirmed their opposing views: The U.S. insists on modifying the deal, but South Korea opposes any change without recommendation from an objective joint study. "We will continue to cooperate with the USA counterpart with an open mind", Kim added. "We made our position clear that investigation, analysis and evaluation of the impact of the Korea-U.S. FTA must be preceded". The countries' officials had held talks in Seoul, in which Washington hoped there would be discussions to amendments or modification of the free trade deal agreed to 5 years ago.

Concerned with the ever-growing trade deficits with various countries, U.S. is seeking to renegotiate its trade deals with various countries. 'The U.S. runs a trade surplus with South Korea in services such as banking and tourism, estimated at $10.7 billion in 2016'. South Korean auto exports to the US last year, however, were 10 times higher at $16 billion.

While Trump has promised to reduce the total trade deficit, most likely by seeking protections for American automakers, experts argue a renegotiated KORUS won't bring jobs back to America. Countries such as Japan that have large trade surpluses with the USA are watching on with interest.



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