S. Korean agriculture minister says nothing to surrender in FTA talks with U.S.

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-12 17:19:22|Editor: huaxia
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SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's agriculture minister said Thursday that his country had nothing to surrender in the agriculture sector in negotiations with the United States to amend the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Yong-rok said at a parliamentary audit of government ministries that in terms of the agriculture sector, South Korea had nothing to yield to any more in the KORUS FTA.

Kim said his country's trade deficit in the agriculture sector with the U.S. was serious and the damages had amassed.

In response to any demands from the U.S. side, the minister said, South Korea will try to make the U.S. understand the damages incurred in the agriculture sector.

Though he declined to elaborate on detailed strategies in the upcoming negotiations, he noted that the ministry drew up counter-strategies for each item.

According to the ministry data, South Korea's trade deficit with the U.S. in the agriculture sector amounted to 6.14 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. The country imported 6.9 billion dollars of U.S. agricultural products and meat last year.

South Korea toughened its stance on the upcoming negotiations to modify the KORUS FTA after the second special session of the joint committee under the bilateral free trade pace was held in Washington last week.

After the special session, the South Korean trade ministry said in a press release that the two sides shared the need for a revised KORUS FTA to strengthen mutual benefits, indicating an actual launch of the amendment negotiations.

During the first special session held in Seoul in August, the two sides reached no agreement.

The FTA special session was requested by the U.S. on July 12 to address what Washington called a significant trade imbalance through possible "amendments" and "modifications."

Before the request, U.S. President Donald Trump described the KORUS FTA as a "horrible deal," vowing to put things right by "renegotiating" the free trade deal. Enditem