“Much Work” Remains on KORUS, Lighthizer Says
Following a Jan. 5 meeting with Korean officials in Washington, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there is “much work to do to reach an agreement” on updating the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement “that serves the economic interests of the American people.” According to press reports, Korean trade minister Kim Hyun-chong agreed, adding that he expects “an uphill battle.” Lighthizer pledged to “move forward as expeditiously as possible” but no further discussions have yet been scheduled.
A USTR press release states that both sides engaged on their priority areas of interest during the day-long session. In particular, the U.S. discussed proposals to move toward “fair and reciprocal” trade in key industrial goods sectors, such as autos and auto parts, and to resolve additional cross-cutting and sector-specific barriers impacting U.S. exports. Press reports add that Korea pressed issues including investor-state dispute settlement, protections for its agriculture industry, and U.S. import restrictions such as safeguard measures and antidumping duties.