President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. will work with South Korea to sign a new trade deal.
The U.S. signed a trade deal with Korea in 2011 and between then and 2016, America’s trade deficit with South Korea has increased by more than $11 billion, according to President Trump. He said while making a statement next to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that is “not exactly a great deal.”
Trade was expected to be an issue brought up when the two leaders met. A senior White House official told reporters Wednesday that the trade imbalance has “caught the president’s eye,” and that Trump was hoping to have a “frank” discussion with President Moon about it.
Trump previously told The Washington Post in April that he is open to terminating America’s existing trade agreement with South Korea.
“We will do more to to remove barriers to reciprocal trade and market access. We talked last night and today about some tough trade issues like autos and steel,” Trump said. “I’m encouraged by President Moon’s assurances that he will work to create a level playing field so that American workers and businesses, and especially auto makers, can have a fair shake at dealing with South Korea.”
Trump said that American companies should be able to freely sell cars in South Korea and that he also called on South Korea to stop enabling the importation of Chinese steel into the U.S
“These would be important steps forward in our trading relationship,” Trump said. “They have to be made, not fair to the American worker if they are not, and they will be.”
“Our teams are going to get to work on these issues, and they’re going to sign a deal that’s great for South Korea and great for the United States,” Trump stated.
President Moon alluded to this during his remarks and said: “We both agreed on this view. economic growth and job creation will be promoted to insure our peoples enjoy greater mutual benefits through the collective efforts we’ve committed to make. “