Trump to Press Trade Deficits in Autos, Steel With Korea's Moon

Michele Moreno
June 30, 2017

Donald Trump is likely to host South Korean President on June 29 and 30.

But President Moon who came to power after a landslide victory, is in favour of engagement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to stabilize Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding their expectations for the trip, which will include a visit to the Korean War Memorial and lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.

USA automakers' access to South Korea has been a sore point in trade relations for years. South Korean businesses plan to invest $12.8 billion in the USA over the next five years, according to Yonhap News Agency.

During the briefing, White House officials emphasized that burden sharing will play a major role in talks with all other countries moving forward.

Trump clashed with South Korea in an April interview with Reuters by saying the country should pay for the $1 billion Thaad system.

"The ironclad alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea has remained strong", he said.

Moon supports both sanctions and dialogue leading to a suspension or freeze of North Korea's nuclear development.

A White House official told reporters Trump would raise concerns about "the enormous amount of steel that sometimes ends up being surplus Chinese steel that comes to the United States via South Korea".

While North Korea is expected to feature prominently in discussions between Trump and Moon, trade will also be a focus of the meeting. South Korea's new leader vowed to stand firmly with Trump against North Korea, downplaying his past advocacy for a softer approach toward the isolated regime. Already he has taken steps to delay the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD, an anti-missile system meant to counter any North Korean strikes.

"If North Korea breaks the agreement in the process and return to [develop] nuclear weapons, the North will be completely isolated in the global community", Moon also told media on Wednesday.

Total two-way trade totaled $144.6 billion past year, with the USA running a $17 billion deficit. Yet South Korea lacked a head of state who could forge the kind of personal connection that other governments had developed with the US president.

For its part, the White House will "substantially increase economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea in order to change their calculus to have substantive talks with us".

Other reports by Insurance News

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