Alabama-South Korean Trade Endangered

Alabama-South Korean Trade Endangered

Alabama-South Korean Trade Endangered

US President Donald Trump said he would discuss the future of the United States-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) with his advisers following a newspaper report that he was considering terminating the pact. The U.S Chamber of Commerce tells its members that the White House has alerted lawmakers that a notification of intent to withdraw could come as soon as Tuesday.

It remains to be seen if North Korea's latest nuclear test yesterday would change the President's calculus, given the importance of Seoul as Washington's partner in dealing with Pyongyang.

China is the North's closest ally and commercial partner.

"I am", Mr Trump said in response to a question about whether he was discussing the issue with advisers.

Trump made his remarks to reporters while visiting hurricane-hit Houston a day after he spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and struck a deal allowing Seoul access to longer-range missiles as well as a potential arms sale.

If the Trump Administration decides to withdraw from deal, the President may look to South Korea to import more USA products without restrictions; something he believes will help US businesses and workers.

Officials from South Korea's trade ministry pointed out the odd timing of the comment and said they are carefully analyzing what might be behind it. Mr Trump said last month that Canada and Mexico are being "difficult" and he will probably need to scrap the pact.

Also perplexing is why Trump would let his thoughts on the matter - which South Korea considers a pillar of the two countries' economic and security alliance - go public as tensions on the Korean Peninsular reach a fever pitch.

Korea is the U.S.' sixth-largest trading partner with volume totaling US$112.2 billion a year ago. While $500-Million in Alabama goods go to South Korea each year, nearly $2-Billion in South Korea good are shopped here, much of it involving the Hyundai plant in Montgomery.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn are among the advisers to Trump who are against withdrawing the US from KORUS, the Washington Post reported.

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