US President Donald Trump signed a revised free trade agreement with South Korea, cementing the first bilateral trade deal of his administration.
“It’s a great day for the US, and it’s a great day for South Korea,” Trump said during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in here on Monday night.
Trump had said last year that he was planning to withdraw from Washington’s trade agreement with South Korea, but he said on Monday that his government is presently negotiating “many” other such deals that will be “fair and reciprocal” for the US.
The revised agreement includes steps to open up the South Korean market to increased American exports, most notably for automobile, and will allow the US to continue imposing a 25 per cent tariff on Korean trucks until 2041, reports The New York Times.
The US’ trade deficit in goods and services with South Korea had already been falling before the agreement was signed, to just above $9 billion last year from just under $17 billion in 2016, as the country increased purchases of machinery, liquefied natural gas and other goods from Washington.
South Korea was also among the countries subjected to steel and aluminium tariffs, making those metals less lucrative to export to the US.
However, the revised trade deal will exclude South Korea from the steel tariffs, in exchange for that country capping its exports to the US at 70 per cent of the average of its export levels from 2015 through 2017.
South Korea will still face the aluminium tariffs.