US formally proposes talks to renegotiate Korea-US free trade deal

US to renegotiate Korea trade deal

US to renegotiate Korea trade deal

The US free trade agreement with South Korea, known as Korus, went into force in March 2012, since when Washington says its trade deficit with the country has more than doubled, from $13.2 billion in 2011 to $27.6 billion previous year.

The Joint Committee is co-chaired by the US Trade Representative and South Korea's Minister of Trade.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter Wednesday to his South Korean counterpart, Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan, calling for a joint committee meeting "to remove barriers to U.S. trade and consider needed amendments" to the U.S. -Korea Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as KORUS.

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".

Terms of the trade deal call for the talks to begin within 30 days. Trump in a press conference after his first summit talks with Korean President Moon Jae-in late last month said the two sides would embark on renegotiation and previously called the bilateral FTA a "horrible deal".

"Under the FTA, it is not necessarily obligatory for our side to comply with the United States proposal for amending the FTA", its ministry of trade, industry and energy said in a statement. He pointed out that a delay may be necessary due to the vacancy at Korea's top trade post.

Ever since Trump made public his intention to alter the terms of the FTA past year, referring to it as a "horrible deal", there has been widespread disparities among experts from both sides.

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"A key focus of the Trump Administration is on reducing our trade deficits with trading partners around the world, and we have real concerns about our significant trade imbalance with Korea", he added.

"The Chamber looks forward to working with the administration to identify possible ways to improve implementation and enforcement and to ensure that the agreement delivers on its potential to create jobs and grow our economy", said US Chamber Senior Vice President for Asia Tami Overby.

United States exports to South Korea have fallen 2.7 percent from $43.5 billion in 2011 to $42.3 billion a year ago.

At the time the FTA was set, President Barack Obama predicted it would increase USA exports to South Korea, the world's 11th-biggest economy.

"It's imperative that we work together to ensure that the economic partnership between our two countries is not only strong and vibrant, but also fair, and that the KORUS Agreement benefits the US economy as much as it does that of Korea", he said.

In order to amend a trade agreement with other countries, the USA administration should notify Congress 90 days before the commencement of the negotiation and report negotiation goals and strategy to the Congress 30 days before the commencement of the negotiation.

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