South Korea and the United States were holding a third round of talks Thursday to amend their free trade agreement as Washington took a series of protectionist actions.
The two sides, led by senior trade officials, met at the U.S. Trade Representative's office in Washington to continue negotiating terms for a new trade pact that will address U.S. complaints about a widening deficit and alleged unfair trade in the auto sector.
U.S. President Donald Trump has slammed the 2012 agreement as a bad deal that cost American jobs and hurt the manufacturing sector. South Korea has countered that the agreement benefited American services and agriculture.
The talks were led on the South Korean side by Yoo Myung-hee, a deputy minister for FTA negotiations at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and on the U.S. side by Assistant Trade Representative Michael Beeman.
South Korea's trade minister, Kim Hyun-chong, was also in the U.S. capital to push for an exemption from Washington's recently announced tariffs on steel imports.
Trump signed off on the 25 percent tariff last week, giving temporary exemptions to only Canada and Mexico while the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is under way.
South Korea-U.S. bilateral trade reached US$119.3 billion last year, according to government data. Seoul's trade surplus fell to $17.8 billion from $25.8 billion in 2015 on sluggish sales of autos and steel and increased consumption of U.S. beef and natural gas. (Yonhap)