The next step after the South Korea-US summit will be forming a bilateral consultation group to discuss whether to renegotiate the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The questions now are the composure of this group and the timing of its formation. The US wants the consultation group to revise the KORUS FTA while South Korea wants it to analyze and assess the KORUS FTA’s impact, suggesting that the two sides will be waging an intense battle of nerves from the very outset.
“Since we have a counterpart to consider here, for now I can’t offer a definitive answer about when, where, or what form this consultation group will take,” said a senior official from South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on July 3. “There hasn’t been any official discussion in our two countries’ working-level channels since the end of the summit.” The Ministry’s American counterpart is the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
On July 2, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would be organizing a meeting of a “special joint committee” in order to begin the process of renegotiating and revising the agreement. The US is likely to view the purpose of the consultation body as being to renegotiate and revise the KORUS FTA. Click here to read more.