US Informs South Korea Plans to Start Talks to Amend Trade Pact

US Request KORUS FTA Meeting to Fix Imbalance

US Informs South Korea Plans to Start Talks to Amend Trade Pact

"We can and must do better", he said.

A South Korean trade official told Reuters on Thursday that it will hold the proposed joint committee either in Seoul or Washington, but this does not necessarily mean that South Korea will renegotiate the deal.

The bilateral negotiations sought by the USA trade representative must in principle begin within 30 days.

The administration focuses on trade in goods, like airplanes and washing machines.

Moreover, he said there is low possibility that Washington will repeal the trade pact due to strong backlash from USA businesses, who have also benefited from expanded bilateral trade between the two economies.

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But some analysts believe the two countries won't make wholesale changes to the agreement.

In a statement, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he had called a joint committee meeting under Korus "to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to US trade and consider needed amendments to the agreement".

The decision comes as US President Donald Trump had earlier called the agreement a disgusting deal and a one-way street.

It is presumed that President Trump continued to use the term renegotiation, as opposed to the more accurate "amend" or "revision", in an effort to give his statements added nuance that he would be able completely overhaul the trade deal. The Cheong Wa Dae official said he acknowledges that in principle the meeting should be convened within 30 days, but he also said an exception can be made if both sides agree.

He said South Korea will discuss ways to reduce the US trade deficit and improve fairness of the KORUS FTA. An unnamed official from Korea's trade ministry said that the timing would have to be moderated due to vacancy to the Korean counterpart in trade negotiations.

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"We will dispatch senior officials to the United States and will discuss with our USA counterparts the details on and agenda and time frame".

Lighthizer went on to say that expectations were high that both economies would realize significant gains at the start but that the overall deficit with Korea has increased, and their goods deficit has doubled since the agreement entered into force.

The US trade deficit for goods and services with Korea was about $17bn a year ago, although viewed separately, the US recorded a surplus for services exports. "This is quite different from what the previous Administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this Agreement".

Mr Trump in an interview in April was more blunt, calling it a "horrible deal" and a "one-way street".

With the South Korea deal in particular, the administration likely aims to win economic benefits that would go over well with Trump's base while discouraging Moon from taking too conciliatory an approach with North Korea, the other issue topping the agenda at the summit. "But, the KORUS FTA is also important for American companies".

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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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