Seoul – The United States formally declared Thursday it wants to renegotiate its free trade agreement with South Korea, as the world’s biggest economy seeks to redraw the global commerce system in its favour under President Donald Trump.
Trump railed against trade agreements on the campaign trail, blaming them for the loss of American jobs as he courted support from working class voters, while supporters say that removing barriers to business increases prosperity overall.
He has already pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposal led by the Obama administration to create the world’s biggest trade pact, which was signed in February last year but never went into force.
And talks are due to start next month on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, after Trump backed down from a threat to withdraw unilaterally from the pact, which has boosted industry and created tight manufacturing, agriculture and business links throughout the region.
The US free trade agreement with South Korea, known as KORUS, went into force in March 2012, since when Washington says its trade deficit with the country has more than doubled, from $13.2 billion in 2011 to $27.6 billion last year.