President Donald Trump hinted yesterday he may pull out of the country's 5-year old free trade agreement with South Korea, saying he would discuss the fate of the pact with his advisors this coming week. -South Korea free-trade agreement with his advisers following a newspaper report that he's considering terminating the pact.
"I am", Mr Trump said in response to a question about whether he was discussing the issue with advisers.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also sent an appeal to its members Saturday to speak out in support of the agreement, which was first negotiated during the George W. Bush administration, with a renegotiated deal under President Barack Obama implemented in 2012.
Some expressed the view that the USA leader might be using the economic agenda with South Korea to gain an upper hand in North Korea's nuclear issues. In turn, South Korea would be free to increase its own tariffs on USA goods.
The White House alerted lawmakers that a notification of intent to withdraw could come as soon as Tuesday, the US Chamber of Commerce wrote in an "all hands on deck" note calling on members to lobby the administration to stay in the deal. Trump may be reviving his "America First" slogan that won him the presidential title by threatening to do away with free trade deals he claims have damaged US trade and jobs.
Officials from South Korea's trade ministry pointed out the odd timing of the comment and said they are carefully analyzing what might be behind it. Korean trade officials maintained that Washington was seeking "modifications" in the terms instead of outright renegotiations.
In recent days, a frustrated Mr Trump has pushed his staff to take bold action against a host of governments, including the one in Seoul, that he has accused of unfair trade practices.More news: Apple's iPhone 8 event is happening on September 12th
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Trump on August 27 renewed his threat to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico ahead of this week's second round of negotiations on rewriting the 23-year-old agreement.
While Seoul and Washington are gesturing at a joint effort to stop the escalating nuclear threats by North Korea, experts speculated that the USA is now more likely to pull out of the bilateral deal as President Trump took to Twitter to accuse Seoul of being soft on Pyongyang.
On Friday, Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-In about working together to address North Korea's "destabilizing and escalatory behavior" and to strengthen their defense alliance, according to a readout of the call between the two leaders.
"It is risky to handle North Korea's nuclear agendas with economic matters with South Korea", said Yang.
South Korea is the U.S.'s sixth-largest trading partner, while the U.S.is South Korea's second-largest trading partner after China.
The American business lobby group stressed that pulling out of the pact will only rupture relations between the White House and USA businesses, particularly the agricultural community, citing that exports in aerospace have doubled to $8 billion thanks to the free trade pact while agricultural goods exports to Korea soared thanks to the phasing out of the double-digit tariff.