The South Korean government said Tuesday it will submit a plan on the renegotiation of the free trade agreement with the United States to the National Assembly on Dec. 18.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has completed two public hearings to collect opinions on the five-year-old deal called KORUS FTA and discussed related issues with 20 ministries and organizations Monday.
Submitting a plan to the parliament would effectively wrap up the domestic procedures needed for opening talks with Washington.
To start talks, the US administration has to send a letter notifying Congress that it intends to launch FTA negotiations in 90 days. It must also hold public hearings and disclose its goal 30 days prior to official talks.
The latest move comes as leaders of the two nations agreed to speed up the process to amend the pact during the summit meeting in Seoul in early November.
US President Donald Trump called the deal a "job killer" during his election campaign, citing rising trade deficits in the manufacturing sector.
Experts say US efforts to narrow the trade gap are expected to focus on the auto and steel sectors, while Seoul officials have voiced opposition to further lowering barriers in the agricultural sector on concerns of strong protests from local farmers and stockbreeders.
South Korea is the US' seventh-largest trading partner, while the US is South Korea's second-biggest partner after China. (Yonhap)