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In shift, South Korea and U.S. to push forward on trade talks

In shift, South Korea and U.S. to push forward on trade talks

Countries expecting to wrangle over automotive rules.

The agreement was reached during talks in Washington led by South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the ministry said in a statement. According to Bloomberg News, South Korea plans to start the necessary process for amendment, the nation's trade ministry said in a statement after the second round of talks concluded in Washington.

The US-South Korean free trade agreement, which went into force in March 2012, removed tariffs on over 90 per cent of the items traded between the two countries, including automobiles.

Negotiations between the US and South Korea on a new free trade agreement will certainly include auto industry talks. Since Seoul announced the suspension of operations at Kaesong last February, satellite imagery has shown North Korea has run and re-located South Korean-owned buses.

The first meeting held in Seoul in August reportedly ended in an impasse.

While no details have yet been made available on the specific changes the two sides might seek, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg adds there are some indications. "The U.S. will play hardball in discussions", but South Korea must take a wholistic approach and consider not just relations with the U.S., but also North Korea's provocations and the Thaad-related conflict with China, he said.

"There's a long list of regulations that are problematic, which we would argue have a disproportionate impact on USA automobile manufacturers", Blunt said.

The United States and South Korea have agreed to amend their five-year-old trade agreement although the deal is short on specifics. The deal "is particularly important from a geopolitical and strategic perspective", it said.

"President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit and negotiate better trade deals for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses", said Lighthizer.