Monday, 20 November, 2017

S.Korea, US begin talks over reviewing trade deal

South Korea Asia's fourth-largest economy is the seventh-largest trading partner of the USMore South Korea Asia's fourth-largest economy is the seventh-largest trading partner of the USMore
Kenny Thornton | 22 August, 2017, 22:04

South Korea describes the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) as a mutually beneficial deal, basing its argument on a surge in bilateral trade volume.

Trade representatives from both countries, Kim Hyun-chong and Robert Lighthizer, exchanged their respective positions in a video conference before the start of the technical session in the South Korean capital.

"Unfortunately, too many American workers have not benefited from the agreement", Lighthizer said.

Talking to media in Seoul South Korean Trade Minister, Kim Hyung-chong said Seoul has proposed a joint study with Washington to evaluate the impact of bilateral trade deal and the cause of the US trade deficit.

"The US cited that their trade deficit has doubled since the FTA came into effect and stated the current terms of the Korea-US FTA needed amending or modifying sometime in the near future", Kim continued. Korean automakers and steelmakers are especially uneasy as the meeting takes place, with the US having already imposed anti-dumping tariffs on imported steel, while demanding lower trade barriers on USA auto exports.

In a statement issued in Washington, Lighthizer said that since KORUS went into effect in 2012, the USA trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled to $27.6 billion a year ago, and that Seoul's non-tariff barriers to US goods were a problem.

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The value of USA goods exported to Korea fell 0.03 percent from $43.5 billion in 2011 to $42.3 billion in 2016, the report said.

While Tami Overby, senior vice president for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, and a strong supporter of the KORUS FTA, has referred to Kim as "one of the smartest trade negotiators alive", the trade negotiator has drawn some criticism from the local business community for his alleged pro-business attitude and pro-US stance taken during initial FTA negotiations with the US. "U.S. businesses believe the Korea-USA FTA is working well", she told the Yonhap news agency on August 16.

It appears that the automobile and steel industries will be targeted for changes. The U.S. exported $1.6 billion worth of passenger cars last year to South Korea, up from $417 million five years earlier. Mr Kim said previous year that the deal was a "slam dunk-shot" for the US.

Trade representatives from Seoul and Washington began their first round of negotiation talks on Tuesday morning during the joint committee special session on the Korea-US FTA, held at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul. Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

"The U.S. needs South Korea's cooperation more than ever to address North Korea", he said.

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