White House cites start of KORUS renegotiations as accomplishment

July 20, 2017

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Yonhap) — The White House on Thursday cited the Donald Trump administration’s launch of a process to renegotiate the bilateral free trade agreement with South Korea as an accomplishment during the president’s first six months in office.

In a statement, the White House listed what it said the president has done in his “Six Months of America First” since coming into office Jan. 20.

“Last week, the President began the process of renegotiating the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement,” it said under the section titled “A Free and Fair Trade Agenda” in reference to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s letter to his South Korean counterpart.

Lighthizer called for a joint session in Washington next month to consider possible amendments and modifications to the 2012 deal.

Trump has long vowed to revise the pact, calling it a “job killing” deal and a “disaster.”

But South Korean officials say the deal has been mutually beneficial. Experts also say that even though the U.S. has a deficit in goods trade, the country has enjoyed surpluses in services trade under the deal, and U.S. deficits in goods trade would have been larger had it not been for the pact.

The agreement has widely been considered a symbol of the economic alliance between the two countries.

In the same section, the White House listed the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier this year and Trump’s pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On trade relations with China, it said Trump’s efforts led to a return of American beef imports to the second largest economy after 14 years.

The statement also included headers such as “Bringing Accountability Back to Government,” “Spurring Jobs Creation” and “Restoring Law and Order to Immigration.”


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