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Trump may reiterate US trade deficit in his Korea visit: trade minister

US President Donald Trump may step up pressure to renegotiate the free trade deal with South Korea during his state visit here next week, Seoul's trade minister said Tuesday.

"There's a possibility that Trump will mention the need to cut the US trade deficit (with South Korea)," Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said during a parliamentary audit, ahead of Trump's visit scheduled on Nov. 7-8.

When asked whether Trump may touch on specific sectors, such as auto and steel, Kim said: "We are reviewing such possibilities, but it is not likely to happen according to our sources." 

Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong looks at a document during a parliamentary audit held at the National Assembly on Oct. 31, 2017. (Yonhap)
Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong looks at a document during a parliamentary audit held at the National Assembly on Oct. 31, 2017. (Yonhap)

Trump has blamed the five-year-old deal for America's growing deficit in goods trade with South Korea. But Seoul has argued the deficit would be larger without the deal and called for a joint review of its impact on the two economies.

With continued pressure from Washington, the two nations earlier this month agreed to begin the long-anticipated process of amending the FTA.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said working-level consultations have been under way between the two nations to coordinate the list of terms before a summit between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Trump. Their meeting is expected to focus on North Korea and trade issues.

Experts said that even though the US has a deficit in goods trade in auto and steel, the country has enjoyed surpluses in services and food-related areas under the deal. (Yonhap)



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