President Donald Trump met with the new President of South Korea on Friday and opened up the session with tough trade talk. An L.A. Times article says Trump announced he will be renegotiating a trade agreement with South Korea that’s already been in place for five years.
The agreement is a co-legacy for both Presidents Bush and Obama and it had broad Congressional support when it was approved. At the same time Trump made the announcement, the U.S. is looking for help from South Korea to contain the nuclear threat from North Korea. Trump called it, “A rough deal for the United States, but I think it will be much different and will benefit both parties.” The South Korean President said nothing to give the impression that a renegotiation was already underway. He calls it a beneficial agreement to both countries while also saying the two countries can address specific concerns.
Trump complained in the past about the trade deficit with South Korea, which totaled $17 billion dollars in 2016. While Trump wants to redo or even end the agreement, it’s important to remember that South Korea is the sixth-largest overseas trading partner for the U.S. The two countries traded more than $112 billion dollars worth of goods last year.