US, S. Korea Begin Kicking Tires On Trade Deal Retooling

US and South Korea Trade Negotiators Meet In Seoul Next Week

US seeks renegotiation of South Korean trade deal

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

In June, Mr Trump told South Korean President Moon Jae In that United States automakers should have a "fair shake" for better vehicle sales.

South Korea and the USA on Tuesday began talks over a possible revision of their free trade agreement (FTA).

Kim said Seoul had stressed that the US trade deficit with South Korea was not the result of the bilateral trade deal and proposed a joint study to examine the effects of the agreement.

The U.S.in particular focused on what it sees as non-tariff barriers in South Korea's auto market, a person close to the negotiations said. Mr Kim said past year that the deal was a "slam dunk shot" for the US.

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. Korus also helps the US on a strategic level as China's economic and political influence grows in the region.

Although South Korea argued that the FTA has contributed to the economic growth of both countries, Washington said that it ran a trade deficit with Seoul of $27.7 billion in 2016, nearly twice as much as the 2012 deficit of $16.6 billion, when the treaty entered into force.

Trump, in an interview in April, had branded the trade agreement a "horrible deal" and indicated he would renegotiate or terminate the accord. On the other end, Seoul is trying tone down speculation the meeting will be a hostile affair, saying the talks will be a broad "evaluation" that includes highlighting of the FTA's mutual benefits rather than focusing exclusively on its shortcomings.

Although trade representatives from Seoul and Washington have met every year since the establishment of the Korea-US FTA five years ago, Tuesday's meeting came more than a month after the USTR sent Korea an official request to hold a joint session to discuss matters regarding the FTA, including opening dialogue for what Lighthizer referred to as "possible amendments and modifications" and to address the "significant trade imbalance".

The Trump administration criticized the pact with its ally, saying that the US trade deficit with South Korea had almost doubled since the deal went into effect.

South Korea is the U.S.'s seventh-largest trading partner, while the U.S.is South Korea's second-biggest partner after China.

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