Trump administration seeks to renegotiate South Korea trade deal

Elias Hubbard
July 13, 2017

The United States informed South Korea on Wednesday that it wants to start negotiations next month on amending a bilateral free trade agreement.

Lighthizer proposed that the meeting take place in Washington next month to discuss the removal of barriers on US goods, and amendments to the current deal, as they see necessary.

Experts also point out, although the USA has a deficit with South Korea in the trade of goods, it has enjoyed sizable surpluses in the services sector under the deal.

He said a meeting of the joint committee, chaired by USTR and South Korea's trade ministry, will meet in Washington in August to discuss the next steps.

Eager to reduce its trade deficits, the US has already agreed with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

The move comes two weeks after Trump and his advisers criticized South Korea's trade practices in front of its president, Moon Jae-in, while facing cameras at the White House.

"We will meet and discuss mutual interests and concerns".

According to the trade pact, a special joint committee can be held within 30 days upon request by one party, with the two sides needing to reach an agreement on decisions made at the committee.

By stepping up pressure on the trade front, the USA hopes to force South Korea to change its approach to the North.

Trump has been calling for renegotiation of the FTA in hopes of making it an "equitable" deal.

During last year's campaign, Trump blamed free trade deals for being a key cause of job losses and other American economic problems in an attempt to woo voters struggling with economic difficulties.

Unlike China, Japan or Germany, South Korea is not running a huge trade surplus with the U.S. Still, the U.S. demanded a review, apparently out of frustration over the North Korean crisis.

That means that had it not been for the deal, the US trade deficits would have been larger.

It was not immediately clear if South Korea had responded to the announcement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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