In a strategic shift, U.S. South Korea trade talks gain momentum

As per the U.S. Census Bureau, the trade deficit between the two nations have dropped significantly in June 2017.

In a positive development that is likely to pave way for future trade talks, South Korea disclosed it was open to revising its 2012 trade pact with the United States. The development comes in the wake of the Trump Administration threatening to terminate the accord unless it was renegotiated.

After a day of talks in Washington, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement, “The two sides recognized the need to amend the FTA to enhance mutual benefits of the KORUS FTA”.

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, said the U.S. was looking forward to the stepped-up talks “to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade.”

This positive statement marks a key shift in approach from the initial meeting in August, where both sides failed to agree on the next step forward, with Lighthizer making demands to amend the agreement to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea.

Ever since the trade agreement came into force in 2012, the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled to $27.6 billion in 2016. However, as per data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in July the bilateral trade deficit fell to $13.1 billion from $18.8 billion during the same period of 2016.

Both countries have yet to decide on a date for a third round of talks with Lighthizer focused on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

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