The second round of negotiations for KORUS FTA revision ended in Seoul on February 1. During the two-day negotiations, participants had working-level talks concerning automobiles, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), trade remedies such as safeguard measures and anti-dumping duties, etc.
The South Korean side focused on the trade remedies including the recent import restrictions on washing machines and solar panels exported from South Korea to the U.S. “A total of 27 new investigations have been recently initiated around the world with regard to trade remedies and no less than eight out of the total belong to the U.S., and we called this point into question,” said South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-jong, adding, “We also pointed out the unfairness of the U.S. applying the Adverse Fact Available rates to raise anti-dumping tariff rates more than necessary.”
The trade minister also remarked that opening of the South Korean primary product market will never happen and the South Korean government adhered to the principle during the second round as well as the previous one.
In the meantime, the U.S. side put much pressure on South Korea with regard to automobiles. “We put emphasis on how to make the agreement more balanced so that our huge trade deficits can be reduced in the field of manufactured goods such as automobiles and auto parts,” Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Michael Beeman said in a press release after the talks.