Korea's top trade negotiator to leave for US ahead of talks

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 24, 2017 - 10:26
  • Updated : Sept 24, 2017 - 17:09
South Korea's top trade negotiator left for the United States on Sunday ahead of the second round of talks on possible amendments to their free trade pact, an official said.

Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong is set to meet with US politicians and business executives in an apparent move to assess the US atmosphere ahead of the special session meeting of a joint committee scheduled for Oct. 4 in Washington.

Kim is scheduled to attend a roundtable to be hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday. The US lobby is in favor of keeping the free trade agreement between Seoul and Washington.

Tami Overby, senior vice president for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, said last month that the free trade deal cannot be blamed for Washington's trade deficit with Seoul, claiming the losses would have been "significantly higher" without the deal.
South Korea`s Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong. (Yonhap)

The trip comes just days after Kim met with his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer in Washington and discussed ways to move forward. Kim visited the US as a member of President Moon Jae-in's entourage to the UN General Assembly in New York last week.

Last month, South Korea and the United States failed to reach a deal on possible amendments to their free trade pact during the first special session meeting of a joint committee in Seoul.

Washington has demanded that Seoul and Washington quickly begin negotiations on amending the pact, citing a spike in its goods trade deficit with South Korea.

Seoul has proposed that experts from both sides carry out a joint study on the effects of the free trade deal and the cause of the US deficit in goods trade so as to analyze and assess the overall situation. (Yonhap)