The Donald Trump Administration appears to be planning to reexamine the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement after the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, if not sooner.
Politico reports that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week formally requested talks with South Korea to consider changes to the five-year-old deal, with a focus on reducing the $28 billion bilateral trade deficit. However, it remains unlikely at this point that any talks surrounding KORUS will take place on the same scale as the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA.
Congress has already warned the White House that it needs to follow formal procedures under the 2015 trade promotion authority law if it wants to make major changes to the pact — including by giving Congress 90 days’ notice of its intention to renegotiate and consulting with lawmakers on negotiating objectives.
The administration is currently going through that process to begin renegotiating NAFTA. According to a USTR fact sheet, Korea is currently the fifth largest U.S. agricultural export market, with beef leading the way, followed by lemons, shelled almonds, cheese, cherries and wine and beer.