S. Korea, US Agree In Effect to Launch Negotiations to Amend FTA

Write : 2017-10-05 11:56:22 Update : 2017-10-05 14:49:46

S. Korea, US Agree In Effect to Launch Negotiations to Amend FTA

Anchor: South Korea and the U.S. are expected to launch negotiations to amend their free trade agreement as early as the beginning of next year. Seoul's first step is to report the results of a meeting with Washington on the FTA to the National Assembly next week. 
Kim In-kyung has more. 

Report: Five years after the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement went into effect, the two sides have essentially agreed to launch negotiations to amend the deal.

Seoul's chief trade representative reached the decision at a special session of a joint committee on the FTA issue with the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington on Wednesday. 

As a result, the two nations are expected to begin domestic procedures to launch the negotiation.

South Korea’s trade representative will begin the process by reporting the results of the special session to the National Assembly next week.

If both sides move quickly, negotiations for the amendment could begin as soon as the beginning of next year.

Wednesday’s special session, led by Minister for Trade Kim Hyun-chong and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, was held one and a half months after the first session in Seoul. 

In a press release Thursday, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the U.S. raised various issues relating to the implementation of the FTA and a need to amend parts of the deal. It said the Korean side also raised issues of concern and that the two parties shared the need to amend the deal to strengthen mutual reciprocity.

The ministry added that it will assess the economic feasibility of the deal, hold a public hearing and report to the National Assembly as required by laws on implementing the FTA.

In a statement, Lighthizer said he looks forward to “intensified engagement with Korea in an expeditious manner to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade.”

Asked by reporters if a renegotiation has been formally launched, Kim said the two sides are not at that stage yet, adding that Seoul and Washington must first seek domestic procedures. He said talks on Wednesday went “fairly well.”

The two sides are expected to lock horns over automobiles and auto parts among other sectors.
Kim In-kyung, KBS World Radio News. 

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