South Korea’s trade minister in Washington to renegotiate KORUS

South Korea’s trade minister in Washington to renegotiate KORUS

Today, trade representatives from the United States and the Republic of Korea will discuss KORUS, a free trade agreement between the two countries. Similar talks occurred in late August and were followed by threats from the Trump administration to scrap the deal altogether. The timing of President Trump’s attacks on KORUS suggests that he is

Now-Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong signing KORUS trade deal in 2007

Photo: AFP

Today, trade representatives from the United States and the Republic of Korea will discuss KORUS, a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Similar talks occurred in late August and were followed by threats from the Trump administration to scrap the deal altogether. The timing of President Trump’s attacks on KORUS suggests that he is attempting to exploit increased South Korean security reliance on the US to gain economic concessions from Seoul.

Should Washington withdraw from the deal, US goods would likely face tariff rates of up to 14% in South Korea, America’s sixth largest trading partner. This would critically disadvantage US firms looking to compete with European and Canadian companies, which would enjoy tariff-free access to the wealthy South Korean economy.

In the context of the escalating conflict with North Korea, Washington needs to maintain a highly cooperative relationship with Seoul. This makes it unlikely that the US president will unilaterally scrap KORUS, and has likely contributed to Trump’s recent easing off with his critiques of the deal.

Get ahead of the headlines with a forward-looking briefing. Download The Daily Brief free in the App Store.