South Korea rejects 'one-sided' United States demand on trade pact

South Korea US US Korea talks trade talks trade deals US trade deal free trade agreement Robert Lighthizer

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 vehicle exports.

In June, Trump told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that US automakers a should have a "fair shake" for better vehicle sales.

"We did not agree to the unilateral proposal from the amend the Korea-U.S. FTA", Kim told reporters in a briefing after a talk with U.S. trade representatives.

Trade representatives will meet today to discuss renegotiating the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

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

"We also explained that the US trade deficit is a result of a complex array of factors on micro and macro levels, not a result of the Korea-US FTA", he said.

Both the sides found that they had differing views on the impact of the trade deal and hence could not reach any agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong will begin the talks with a videoconference meeting on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported. South Korea describes the pact as a mutually beneficial deal, basing its argument on a surge in bilateral trade volume. "We will continue to cooperate with the USA counterpart with an open mind", Kim added.

The talks were at the request of Washington, which considers that the deal has increased its trade deficit with the Asian country, reports Efe news. Kim said past year that the deal was a "slam dunk-shot" for the US.

"We told the U.S. that it's necessary to figure out the reasons for the trade imbalance through a joint study to research, analyze and assess the effect of the FTA", Kim said.

South Korea refuted the Trump administration's allegations and said that the deal has benefited both the countries.

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. President Trump has labeled the FTA a "horrible" deal that has destroyed American jobs, vowing since his run for the White House to either renegotiate or terminate the deal.

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