Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced during a Friday afternoon briefing with President Donald Trump that the United States is close to completing a trade deal with South Korea.
Before ceding the podium to Ross, Trump said that a deal with South Korea is very close to being finished, according to Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Trump described it as “a deal that was causing a lot of problems for our country in terms of employment and in terms of lots of other things.”
Ross then spoke of the parameters of the deal:
“We believe that we are relatively close to a pretty comprehensive resolution with the South Korean government. It will encompass, if it goes through, both the 232s and broader trade issues. And we hope by sometime next week to be able to have a real announcement.”
The U.S. and South Korea began renegotiating a trade deal in January, according to the New York Times. The U.S. was focused on trade of its automobiles and may also be focused on financial services, according to the report.
Reuters reported at the time that South Korea’s Trade Minister, Kim Hyun-chong, anticipated an “uphill battle” in trade talks. During the initial January trade talks, South Korea focused on U.S. import restrictions on South Korean washing machines, steel products, and solar panels.
President Trump has called the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) a “terrible deal” and less than a year ago, warned it may be canceled, according to the Washington Post.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana