World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

U.S. and South Korean Trade Talks Concluded

U.S.and South Korean Trade Talks Concluded

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer

Washington - U.S. and South Korean trade negotiators wrapped up four days of talks on a bilateral free-trade agreement held up by differences over beef and auto imports.

The chief U.S. trade official said the negotiators meeting in Maryland will return to their capitals to brief President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on details of the revised trade pact. An announcement of the details in the revision is not expected before negotiators meet with the two presidents.

"We've made substantial progress in our discussions," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said December 3 at the conclusion of meetings with Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon and his team of negotiators. "It's time now for the leaders to review this progress before we move forward."

The trade ministers met in Columbia, Maryland, outside Washington. At issue is the 2007 U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement that was originally negotiated by the administration of former President George W. Bush. It became embroiled in congressional concerns about auto and beef trade with South Korea. The agreement was signed June 30, 2007, but has not been ratified by Congress.

Obama announced at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Toronto in June that he would try to complete modifications to the agreement before the end of the year and send it to Congress for final approval. The president met again with Lee in Seoul on the sidelines of a G20 summit in November, but talks ended before a conclusion was reached.

The presidents discussed ways to proceed with the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and agreed to strengthen commercial ties while also pursuing efforts to remove trade barriers.

One key obstacle was a 2.5 percent tariff the United States levies on Korean-built autos. News reports published December 3 indicate South Korea agreed to accept a five-year phase-out of the auto tariff, which is expected to open the way to the agreement's ratification.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, South Korea is the United States' seventh-largest trading partner and eighth-largest export market. In 2009, the United States exported $28.6 billion in goods to South Korea and imported another $39.2 billion of products. The United States exported 7,663 cars and light trucks to South Korea last year while importing 476,857 from South Korea.

The trade talks were led by Kirk and Kim and also included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Ford Motor Company Chief Executive Alan Mulally and officials from the United Auto Workers union.

If finally approved, the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement would become the second-largest free-trade agreement after the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which are the United States' largest trading partners. The United States is also attempting to complete free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

White House advisers have said that expanding economic integration and trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region is a vital element in the United States being able to export more and to grow the domestic economy. Expanding U.S. exports is a significant part of Obama's National Export Initiative ( http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2010/March/20100312151930xjsnommis1.054019e-02.html ), which aims to double American exports by 2015 while lessening U.S. consumer demand as a driving force of the U.S. economy.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>