Now is Not the Time for U.S.-South Korea Trade Tensions
Wendy Cutler Op-Ed in The Hill
In this op-ed, ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler outlines how to get the U.S.-South Korea trade relationship back on track. This is an excerpt from the article, which was originally published by The Hill.
On Aug. 22, the second day of the annual joint military exercises between American and South Korean troops, trade officials from both countries held a tense meeting in South Korea’s capital.
American officials were there to ostensibly discuss implementation issues and possible amendments to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) after the Trump administration raised concerns about the deal during President Moon Jae-in’s June visit to Washington, D.C. In Seoul, however, it appears both sides mostly talked past each other and left without any specific plans for re-engagement.
If not handled carefully, the latest impasse could lead to renewed trade tension between the U.S. and Korea. It also takes place at a time, after exceedingly threatening North Korean missile tests, when the bilateral alliance could not be more important.
But renewed trade tensions are not inevitable with a mutual commitment to genuinely listen to each side’s concerns and work together in good faith to find a path forward. We have come too far in our bilateral trade relationship to allow this current impasse to lead to a downward spiral.