US Officially Requests Negotiations over Korea-US FTA Revision

The World Bank Group building is seen at the start of the Annual Fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank

Trump has described Korus as a "horrible" deal for the USA, and in a letter to South Korea's trade minister, Lighthizer said there were "problems regarding market access in Korea for U.S. exports" and Washington wanted to see a "more balanced trade relationship".

"After the FTA went into effect, global trade volume dropped, while the two countries' trade increased, and this shows the deal brought mutual benefits", said Yeo Han-koo, Director General for International Trade Policy at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, at a press briefing held at the Sejong Government Complex on Thursday.

On Thursday, under the direction of US President Donald Trump, Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer formally notified Korea that the US was calling a special joint committee meeting within the next 30 days to start revising certain parts of the Korea-US FTA.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy also said that it would call on its United States counterpart to first review the root causes of the trade imbalance between the two countries.

South Korea's trade ministry said in a statement that it will dispatch a senior official to the U.S., but stressed the need to "investigate, analyze, and evaluate" the free trade agreement and its impact on the trade deficit before taking any further action.

Lighthizer called for the Joint Committee meeting to be held in Washington, DC next month, on a date to be agreed upon by the parties, the statement said. "The renegotiation table opens when the two countries agree to do so".

"We will send a senior official to the United States and discuss detailed schedules and agenda items with the USTR", it added.

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




Lighthizer called for a committee meeting on the subject within thirty days.

"This is quite different from what the previous administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this agreement".

During last year's campaign, Trump blamed free trade deals for being a key cause of job losses and other American economic problems in an attempt to woo voters struggling with economic difficulties.

The spokesman predicted the US will make specific demands during the special Joint Committee meeting, including a revision of the FTA.

During the recent Washington summit last month, President Moon Jae-in revealed that U.S. officials emphasized the country's trade deficit in the auto and steel industries, alluding to a possible push by the Trump administration for changes in those sectors.

The Korean government believes that there is no specific evidence that the FTA has raised the US trade deficit with Korea.

The U.S. runs a trade surplus with South Korea in services such as banking and tourism.

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