Obama's US Trade Representative rebuffs Trump's claims

Officers will meet in Washington this week to begin talks geared toward renegotiating Korus, the free trade agreement that has linked the two economies for nearly six years.

President Trump has been vastly vital of the deal, slamming it throughout his marketing campaign as “horrible” and a “job killer.” Since taking workplace, he has threatened to yank the U.S. out of it altogether.

The talks over its future may have main implications for a way different nations strategy commerce negotiations with Trump — and for the tense scenario over North Korea.

Related: Trump’s trade flashpoints in Asia

What are the negotiations about?

Korus was inked again in 2007, however did not come into drive till 5 years later.

It eradicated tariffs and different boundaries to buying and selling in issues like agricultural merchandise, automobiles and industrial items.

Commerce in items and companies between the 2 nations has soared since. In 2016, it hit nearly $150 billion. South Korea is now the sixth greatest U.S. buying and selling companion.

South Korea hasn’t been eager to renegotiate Korus, however it bowed to U.S. stress to take action late final 12 months.

Related: Trump’s top trade issues: Where they stand

US South Korea trade graphic

What’s at stake?

For Trump, overhauling trade deals that he says are unfair to the U.S. means fulfilling a giant marketing campaign pledge.

However Troy Stangarone, a senior director at the Korea Economic Institute of America, a Washington-based assume tank, says Trump’s criticism of the South Korean deal is misguided.

Related: New Pacific trade deal could leave U.S. playing catchup

He factors out that beneath Korus, the U.S. has seen substantial development within the worth of services it sells to South Korea.

And after ballooning within the early years of the deal, the general U.S. commerce deficit with South Korea is now in decline, in accordance with one other Korea Financial Institute director, Phil Eskeland.

In any case, U.S. withdrawal from Korus seems to be unlikely. It will harm beef farmers, who are big exporters to South Korea.

What is going on to be the main target for Trump?

Vehicles make up an enormous a part of the U.S. commerce deficit with South Korea, so they’re “prone to be a serious focus level,” mentioned Krystal Tan, an economist at analysis agency Capital Economics.

She predicts the U.S. could attempt to get South Korea to loosen up stringent emissions requirements and push for extra U.S.-made elements for use in South Korean automobiles which might be exported to the U.S..

Related: U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and China is growing

However some observers aren’t satisfied autos alone will make a lot of a dent within the commerce deficit, which Trump views because the gauge of financial relations between two nations.

At about one tenth the scale of the U.S. auto market, South Korea is simply too small to soak up sufficient U.S.-made automobiles to make a giant distinction, Stangarone mentioned.

As a substitute, the U.S. might need to give attention to companies. For instance, altering guidelines that might make it simpler for American firms in authorized and digital companies to function in South Korea.

What does it imply for different U.S. commerce companions?

Nations around the globe will probably be watching the talks with South Korea very intently to see how Trump and his staff deal with one-to-one negotiations.

Japan, which also runs a big trade surplus with the U.S., seems reluctant to interact in talks with the Trump administration on a bilateral free commerce deal.

Related: Trump and China: 2018 could get nasty

Stangarone mentioned that Trump wants to indicate through the South Korea talks that these types of negotiations will be good for U.S. commerce companions, too, which can imply making concessions.

“If the talks are too one-sided, it should discourage different nations,” he mentioned.

The South Korea deal is not the one one in Trump’s sights. His administration is already renegotiating NAFTA, the 24-year previous settlement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

What about North Korea?

The commerce talks come at a fragile time on the Korean peninsula.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea spiked final 12 months as Kim Jong Un’s regime pushed forward with its nuclear weapons program.

Related: Will sanctions kill North Korea’s quiet consumer revolution

A disagreement between the U.S. and South Korea over commerce may pressure ties between the 2 key allies. That might immediate different U.S. companions, like Japan, to query U.S. dedication to safety within the area.

“Bilateral cooperation is paramount,” Stangarone mentioned. “The U.S. and South Korea can’t afford for the talks over the [trade deal] to deteriorate and tensions to unfold.”

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First revealed January four, 2018: 9:23 AM ET