Washington, July 13 (IANS) The US has notified South Korea that it intends to begin negotiations to amend a five-year-old bilateral free trade agreement.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, acting on instructions from US President Donald Trump, on Wednesday called a special Joint Committee meeting under the US-Korean free trade agreement, known as KORUS, to start renegotiating the deal as early as next month, reports Efe news.
“President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit and negotiate better trade deals for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses,” Lighthizer said in a statement.
He added: ” Since KORUS went into effect, (the US) trade deficit in goods with Korea has doubled from $13.2 billion to $27.6 billion, while US goods exports have actually gone down.
“This is quite different from what the previous Administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this Agreement. We can and must do better”.
The announcement follows on election campaign promises made by Trump to renegotiate trade deals that his administration considers unfavourable to the US, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and to pursue increasingly protectionist economic policies.
In January, he withdrew from the TPP, a deal signed under former President Barack Obama with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.