S Korea says no agreement over renegotiation of US trade deal
SEOUL - Agence France-PresseSouth Korea and the U.S. reached no agreement on renegotiating their free trade pact -- decried by President Donald Trump as a “horrible deal” -- a top Seoul official said on Aug. 22 after meeting U.S. counterparts.
The U.S. administration under Trump has been seeking to revise the pact, signed by former President Barack Obama and which Trump slammed as a “job killer.”
“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.
South Korea -- Asia’s fourth-largest economy and the seventh-largest trading partner of the U.S.-- has maintained there is no clear link between the pact and the US trade deficit.
Trade officials from both sides gathered in Seoul on Aug. 22 after Washington called a meeting, but failed to reach “any agreement,” Seoul’s trade minister Kim Hyun-Chong told reporters.
“We did not agree with the unilateral demand by the U.S. to revise the Korea-US FTA” (free trade agreement), Kim said, adding no date had been set for a further meeting.
“We also explained that the U.S. trade deficit is a result of a complex array of factors on micro and macro levels, not a result of the Korea-U.S. FTA,” he said.
Trump’s push to revise the deal is part of his wider drive to cut his nation’s trade deficits with a number of countries including the South -- a key Asian ally with which it is confronting the threats from the nuclear-armed North.
The U.S. is the South’s second-biggest trading partner after China.
The U.S. goods trade deficit with the South has more than doubled since the pact took effect in 2012, from $13.2 billion in 2011 to $27.6 billion last year, according to U.S. data.