January 8, 2018 | By: HYUNJOO JIN-
OSONG, South Korea (Reuters) – South Korea’s trade ministry said on Monday it anticipates an “uphill battle” to revise its bilateral trade deal with the United States, but it expects Washington to proceed with the talks in a speedy manner.
Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said that in the first round of talks in Washington on Friday, the U.S. focused on eliminating non-tariff barriers in the auto sector.
Disagreements over the trade pact that became effective in 2012 risk distancing Seoul and Washington at a time when North Korea is seen trying to create a fissure in the alliance.
The talks stem from President Donald Trump’s unhappiness with the existing pact. In April, Trump told Reuters he would either renegotiate or terminate what he called a “horrible” trade deal that has doubled the U.S. goods trade deficit with South Korea since 2012.
On Monday, Kim told reporters that he expects “an uphill battle for the talks. There is lots of work to do during a short period of time.”
He said he expected Trump’s administration to step up protectionism moves to rally domestic support this year.
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