Trump renews trade threats against China, S.Korea

US President Donald Trump aims tough criticism at South Korea and China during a White House meeting on trade with US lawmakers on February 13, 2018
AFP

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed a threat of retaliatory action against two major Asian trading partners, warning of sanctions against China while vowing to revise or scrap a free trade deal with South Korea.

Charging that America’s steel and aluminum industries were being “decimated” by dumping, Trump said as he hosted lawmakers for a meeting on trade that he was mulling sanctions against China, and was “considering all options” including tariffs.

The US president was presented last month with two Commerce Department reports concerning alleged Chinese subsidies for steel and aluminum exports, whose findings have not been made public. The administration has another two months to decide on possible retaliatory action.

Taking aim at Seoul, Trump complained that America’s 2012 free trade deal with South Korea “was a disaster,” vowing the United States would renegotiate a “fair deal” or scrap it altogether.

The Trump administration initiated talks to renegotiate the United States-Korea (KORUS) trade agreement in July last year, arguing it was lopsided because American’s bilateral trade deficit had ballooned under it.

“We have a very, very bad trade deal with Korea,” Trump said. “For us it produced nothing but losses.”

Trump’s comments came a day after he singled out South Korea and China, along with Japan, over their trade surpluses with the United States, accusing them of “getting away with murder.”

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