Korea rejects United States call to revise 'job killer' trade deal

South Korea proposed that experts from the two nations conduct a study on the effects of their trade pact and the cause of US trade deficits with South Korea.

Kim said that his side has proposed for a joint study with Washington to evaluate the impact that the 5 year old bilateral trade agreement has caused on USA trade deficit.

Seoul and Washington were unable to reach a consensus regarding the United States' request to amend certain terms of the two nations' free trade agreement, the country's newly elected chief trade negotiator Kim Hyun-chong said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump long criticized numerous nation's trade agreements, including the five-year-old pact with South Korea knowns as Korus FTA.

But South Korea said the deal has been beneficial to both countries.

The trade issue has emerged just as the USA and South Korea need each other's support to fight North Korea's nuclear threat. Working-level negotiators on both sides then sparred in a session lasting more than eight hours.

American industrial reaction to the Korus FTA talks has been mixed. But the USA sees it as one of the main reasons for the imbalance.

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The value of US goods exported to Korea fell 0.03 percent from $43.5 billion in 2011 to $42.3 billion in 2016, the report said. "We made our position clear that investigation, analysis and evaluation of the impact of the Korea-U.S. FTA must be preceded".

The Trump administration wants to renegotiate trade terms regarding cars and steel because the two sectors are where the USA has significant deficits, said Rajiv Biswas, IHS Markit's Asia Pacific chief economist.

It appears that the automobile and steel industries will be targeted for changes.

In 2016, the USA imported $81 billion from South Korea and exported only $63.8 billion. Kim said past year that the deal was a "slam dunk-shot" for the US. The countries' officials had held talks in Seoul, in which Washington hoped there would be discussions to amendments or modification of the free trade deal agreed to 5 years ago.

On steel, American officials say South Korea is partly to blame for the global glut that has caused prices to fall.

Korean researchers who monitor trade with the USA say Washington may want to make tweaks to Korus FTA, rather than conducting a deep negotiation, given the conflicting interests of individual industries.

While Trump has promised to reduce the total trade deficit, most likely by seeking protections for American automakers, experts argue a renegotiated KORUS won't bring jobs back to America.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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