Trump calls South Korean trade deal 'so bad' for the US

Trump calls South Korean trade deal 'so bad' for the US
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President Trump on Thursday bashed the five-year-old trade agreement between the United States and South Korea while sitting next to that nation’s president, Moon Jae-in.

Trump, who earlier this month threatened to withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, said that, besides discussing North Korea's growing nuclear threat, the two leaders would address nagging trade issues.

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"So because of the fact that our trade deal is so bad for the United States and so good for South Korea, I said we'll focus on the military, but actually we're going to try to straighten it out and make it fair for everybody,” Trump said while sitting next to Moon ahead of their meeting. 

“But our real focus will be on the military and our relationship with South Korea, which is excellent," he said. 

Trump's plan to withdraw from the free trade agreement with South Korea was met with backlash from agriculture and other business groups and pushback from within the White House.

Several days after his promise to exit the pact, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE told reporters that he would rather work on improving the deal, with a focus on lowering the U.S. trade deficit with Seoul, rather than exiting the agreement.

Trade has grown between the two nations since the deal was ratified in 2012, but South Korea's goods imports have risen at a faster pace than U.S. exports, according to data from Lighthizer's office.

"My hope is that we’ll have a successful discussion with the Koreans as things proceed, and that the problems with that agreement from our perspective will be worked out,” Lighthizer said earlier this month in Mexico City following the second round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks.

U.S. and South Korean trade negotiators are expected to hold a second round of meetings to discuss the future of the agreement.