Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that the US government will review the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in 2012 with South Korea, a media report said.The review would be aimed at looking for ways to improve the trade deficit between the two countries, Efe news reported. Pence made the remark during a meeting with representatives of the US Chamber of Commerce here before leaving for Japan, the second stopover in his 10-day Asia-Pacific tour. The Vice President praised the good economic relations between the two countries but stressed the need to “be honest about where our trade relationship is falling short”.
The remark was referring to the growing US trade deficit derived from excessive barriers for US businesses in the South Korean market. “Our businesses continue to face too many barriers of entry which tilted the playing field against the American workers and American growth,” Pence said. The Vice President also pointed out that it was necessary to “level that playing field between our two countries” and assured that the US will work together with South Korea to reform the agreement. The US trade deficit with South Korea in 2016 amounted to $27.6 billion. The 2016 figure was twice that of 2011, a year before the FTA was signed.
Since taking office in January, the new US administration has called for a turnaround in the US trade policies to be in line with Trump’s policy of “America first”. In addition to abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the world’s largest FTA, Washington has criticised a number of Asian trading partners, such as China, Japan or South Korea, saying they have worked together to devalue their currencies to gain competitive advantages over the US.