Amid continued ambiguity regarding the fate of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, some industry experts are predicting high odds that US President Donald Trump may actually terminate the trade deal, following North Korea's escalating threats, which are adding tension to the political and economic climate between South Korea and the US.
The US Chamber of Commerce said in an email to members that it and other business groups "have received multiple reports" that the Trump administration is prepared to notify South Korea of its intent to withdraw from KORUS tomorrow, and possibly sooner.
No announcement is expected on the U.S. "But we need you to engage now and start contacting your representatives, senators, governors and whoever else you can think of to warn President Trump that this would be a awful move for the USA beef industry and the agriculture community".
"It is very much on my mind", Mr Trump said in Houston when asked if he is talking to advisers and will do something about the pact this week. -South Korean free trade deal with his advisers next week in a move that could see him pull out of the accord with a key USA ally at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Trump's pressure on South Korea on trade also comes as the administration is considering whether to take broader action against foreign-made steel.
A statement by Mr. Lighthizer's office after the talks said the US still has concerns about KORUS. 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. Mr Trump said last month that Canada and Mexico are being "difficult" and he will probably need to scrap the pact.
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"The president and Nebraska have a basic disagreement about trade", Mr. Sasse said. However, according to the head of Korea's chief trade negotiator Kim Hyun-chong following the summit meeting, the two nation's failed to reach any agreement, citing differing opinions.
"One of the big reasons we chose to go forward with the agreement was to demonstrate to the South Koreans, North Koreans and Chinese that the United States was committed to this relationship for the long haul", Mr Green said. But he also noted the renegotiation was an opportunity to address those concerns.
Trump's main complaints with the five-year-old trade deal surround the rules of origin, particularly in the autos sector, one private-sector source close to the discussions said. The Commerce Department has been investigating whether imported steel threatens US security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act.
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 US reputation when it is trying to rally support in the region to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.
"Unfortunately, too many American workers have not benefited from the agreement", Mr. Lighthizer said.