(Neb)-Sasse Opposes Pullout From Korean Free Trade Agreement

Sasse Slams Trump’s ’18th Century’ Trade Policy Guest Post

Tension heightened between Seoul and Washington over the weekend, upon reports by the US media that said President Donald Trump is considering a possible withdrawal from the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement.

His remark came in line with the Washington Post's report that the president had ordered his aides to prepare for termination of the deal.

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 USA from KORUS, the Washington Post reported.

A White House spokeswoman said "discussions are ongoing but we have no announcements at this time".

President Trump, reflecting his "America First" policy, has repeatedly accused the trade deal of causing large deficits in the USA trade with South Korea - a claim refuted not only by Seoul but also by a number of top United States officials, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

For their part, Chamber officials are warning of possible job loses in the agriculture and manufacturing sector if Trump were to withdraw from the pact, as well to damage to the USA reputation when it is trying to rally support in the region to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

A South Korean trade ministry official said the government has been "thoroughly preparing for all possibilities" and would negotiate with Washington with an open attitude. Leaving the bilateral trade agreement, which was signed in 2007 and implemented in 2012, could lead to large tariffs on those goods, increasing the cost to US consumers.

Back in April, Sasse said Trump considering having the USA leave the North American Free Trade Agreement was a "disastrously bad idea", The Hill reports. This is quite different from what the previous Administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this Agreement.

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Trump has expressed widespread frustration that he has not been able to follow through on campaign promises to rip up trade deals that he argues have disadvantaged USA workers.

The president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, Joshua Bolten, said the group also is raising alarms among lawmakers and governors whose states would be hurt by killing the trade deal, known as KORUS.

But in recent days he has said he might still withdraw from NAFTA, accusing Mexico in particular of refraining to offer concessions during negotiations.

Alabama exports millions of dollars in goods to, and imports millions worth of good from, South Korea...primarily because the only Hyundai plant in the U.S.is in Montgomery.

Korea's US exports have dipped from $36.5 billion past year to $35.7 billion as of the end of June.

Trump has said many countries that export more goods to the USA than they import are fleecing US workers and consumers.

The meeting between Lighthizer and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-jong appears to have gone badly, the Chamber memo said.

Trump has recently been pushing for the termination of a number of the country's current trade deals. KORUS was approved by Congress, but Trump could to pull out of the agreement on his own.

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