Korea, US agree to begin process to amend free trade deal
[THE INVESTOR] Korea and the US agreed Oct. 4 to begin a process to amend their free trade agreement at Washington’s request, Seoul's trade ministry said.
The agreement was reached during talks in Washington led by Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the ministry said in a statement.
“The two sides shared an understanding of the need to amend the free trade agreement to further strengthen the mutual benefits of the Korea-U.S. FTA,” it said.
In accordance with Korean law, the ministry will carry out the procedures necessary to begin negotiations for an amendment, including an economic feasibility study, public hearings and reports to parliament, it added.
The announcement marks an accomplishment for US President Donald Trump, who has long vowed to fix trade deals he sees as unfavorable to American businesses and workers.
The Trump administration has blamed the five-year-old agreement, known as KORUS, for the US’ growing deficit in goods trade with South Korea. But Seoul has argued the deficit would be larger without the deal and called for a joint review of its impact on the two economies.
By Park Han-na and news wires (firstname.lastname@example.org)