US, South Korea agree in principle on new trade deal - White House

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-South Korea Free Trade Agreement announced today by the Trump administration is welcome news for the us meat industry, as it safeguards crucial access to one of our fastest growing, most important export markets.

South Korea will no longer require additional testing for USA vehicles certified to meet US standards.

"We are pleased the negotiations did not change the terms for USA meat exports, and urge that these tariff rate reductions be maintained in any successive amendments to the agreement".

Trump's complaints about South Korean trade practices have caused friction between the two allies at a crucial time, as he prepares for a meeting with North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un.

The two allies started working on amending the free trade pact in August after Trump blamed the arrangement for causing the USA trade deficit with South Korea. A working group will oversee, monitor, and address these issues.

"Clearly, the president was correct to undertake this renegotiation", a senior administration official said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The renegotiated pact is likely to do little to correct that imbalance.

Trump had called the original South Korea pact a job killer.

Details of the deal were communicated to reporters in a Tuesday evening phone briefing.

South Korea Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong announced the deal as well on Monday in Seoul. This is a "big win for US truck producers and the workers", said one of the officials. It's created to eliminate the problem of "transshipment": South Korean companies buying steel from elsewhere, especially China, and sending it to the U.S. South Korea is the third-largest exporter of steel to the U.S.

South Korea previously subjected USA cars to addition testing and environmental standards, but now will align those tests with US standards. We said we were going to proceed.

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Whether the deal will live up to that promise is uncertain, however. Members of the European Union have criticized the hard-line approach from the USA, but Trump has not signaled any intention to back down.

Reception of the deal is a good deal cooler in South Korea.

South Korea's steel exports to the USA will fall by about 30 percent, but the Asian country is still subject to a 10 percent aluminum tariff.

Quite a number of USA lawmakers, especially Democrats had earlier objected the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal as it contained a similar side agreement having currency manipulation, which could not be bring to effect.

One of the officials said that this deal "underscores a pattern of failure by previous administrations to negotiate fair and reciprocal trade deals that benefit both countries". An official said this created an economies of scale problem.

But there too the exact impact is unclear.

South Korea was one of several countries that received an initial exemption from broad United States tariffs on steel and aluminium last week.

The trade renegotiation between the USA and South Korea occurs as the United States turns its attention to the Korean peninsula.

Washington and Seoul this week reached an agreement "in principle" to update the 2012 agreement - which President Donald Trump had denounced as a "horrible deal" - following talks that began last summer. So we announced the tariff.

However, it has been suspending the duties on allies like the EU, Canada and Mexico.

On March 8, vowing to protect the US steel and aluminum industry in the name of national security, Trump signed proclamations to impose a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum. "Through this new agreement in principle, progress was also made with regard to Korea's customs verification procedures, which have been a substantial concern related to exports of US agricultural and industrial goods".

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