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American Shipper

U.S., South Korea consider specific KORUS proposals on market access, tariffs

During joint committee discussions between United States and South Korean trade officials held this week in Seoul to amend the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), the U.S. emphasized steps to improve its bilateral industrial goods trade deficit.

   Trade officials from the United States and South Korea considered “specific proposals,” including ones on market access and tariffs, as they met in Seoul for joint committee discussions Wednesday and Thursday to amend the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced Thursday.
   The U.S. “emphasized” steps to improve its bilateral industrial goods trade deficit, including with regard to automobiles and auto parts.
   In addition, the U.S. “pressed” for resolution of implementation concerns that have cramped U.S. goods and services export growth and opportunities in South Korea, the USTR said.
   “These negotiations are an example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to making trade deals fair and reciprocal,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “We must build on these negotiations with substantive and expeditious progress that will benefit the American people.”
   Both governments “anticipate setting dates in the near future” for further KORUS meetings in Washington, the USTR said.
   Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger, who serves as chairman of Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee, issued a statement Wednesday encouraging the U.S. and South Korea to address “implementation” and “market access” issues faced by U.S. companies.
   “With the U.S. exporting approximately $65 billion in goods and services to South Korea that support 360,000 American jobs, we urge the Trump administration to focus on strengthening and improving KORUS,” he said.
   The countries opened up the agreement in July to discuss potential amendments.

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