The United States seeks to renegotiate free trade deal with South Korea

July 13, 2017 8:00 pm

President Donald Trump shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in after a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The has told South it wants to renegotiate a free trade agreement signed under the Barack Obama administration.
“We can and must do better,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Thursday.
Lighthizer called for a committee meeting on the subject within thirty days. The meeting would work to remove barriers to US trade and consider needed amendments to the 2012 agreement.
According to reports, the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) became law in March 2012. That year, the US trade deficit with was $7.7 billion while it was $17.6 billion last year.
Lighthizer added, “President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit and negotiate better trade deals for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
The decision comes as US President Donald Trump had earlier called the agreement a horrible deal and a one-way street.
“For many, many years, has suffered through massive trade deficits…we’ll be changing that,” Trump said during the June 30 meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in. 
Trump had withdrawn from the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership agreement in January.
The Republican president has further plans to renegotiate the NAFTA free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
‘Not obligatory for South Korea to comply with US proposal’
South Korea has responded to a US request for talks on a free-trade agreement between the two countries, saying its unclear if the deal is causing an intensifying imbalance.
“Under the FTA, it is not necessarily obligatory for our side to comply with the US proposal for amending the FTA,” its ministry of trade, industry and energy said in a statement.
The South Korean foreign ministry also stressed that Seoul and Washington should consider revising the trade accord only after reaching a consensus on the need for a change. 
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