On Monday the U.S. and South Korea sealed an updated free trade pact on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly in New York. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in signed the deal, which is an update to a 2012 trade pact.
Trump said at a bi-lateral signing ceremony that “It’s a very big deal. This is a great day for the United States and a great day for South Korea,” later calling the new terms “fair and reciprocal”.
The deal will cut the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea, which stood at $9.8 billion in 2017 and increase U.S. auto exports to the South, Trump said.
According to the White House Among its revisions, the updated trade agreement doubles the number of automobiles a U.S. car manufacturer can ship to South Korea using U.S. safety standards from 25,000 to 50,000 per manufacturer each year and includes an expansion of “eco-credits” for U.S. automakers to meet the South’s emissions standards.
Trump persistent approach his “great” relationship with Moon, saying their joint work extends beyond just trade to include ongoing efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
Trump said, “A lot of very positive things are happening with Chairman Kim [Jong-un] of North Korea. And you’ll be hearing about that over the coming weeks. But I think some really, really important things are happening.”
In remarks translated from Korean that the new trade updates are “significant in the sense that it expands the ROK-U.S. alliance to the economic realm as well,” Moon said.
Moon added, “With the swift conclusion of the negotiations for the revision, uncertainty surrounding our FTA has been eliminated.” “In addition, I’m hopeful that this will give us a platform upon which our bilateral economic ties will be raised to a higher level in a freer, fairer and more mutually beneficial direction.”
According to a statement issued after their signing ceremony, the leaders pledged “to direct our officials to move forward with more steps, as required in our respective countries, to bring the updated agreement into force as soon as practicable.”