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Revamped US-South Korea trade deal tackles pharma, currency issues

The new deal doubles- to 50,000- the cars each US automaker can export annually to South Korea

The side deal requires South Korea to provide increased transparency of its foreign exchange interventions, and commitment to avoid devaluations of its currency for competitive purposes, said the officials.

Nonetheless, the revised US-South Korean Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS, would be the first US trade deal in force with a currency side-deal, and would not need congressional approval, the officials said. This is a "big win for US truck producers and the workers", said one of the officials.

Previously, there was a 25,000 per manufacturer per year cap on vehicles from the United States that could be accepted in South Korea under U.S. safety standards.

Trump has called Korus a "horrible" agreement that "destroyed" USA industry.

The new amendments to the trade deal will mark modest concessions by a trading partner that is a relatively small player behind the European Union, China and Canada. Provisions in KORUS allow the two countries to rework sections of the trade pact without the congressional oversight and consultations required under Trade Promotion Authority as long as there are no changes to USA law.

"Clearly, the president was correct to undertake this renegotiation", a senior administration official said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The agreement is an example of "the president fulfilling promises he made during the campaign", said one senior adviser, adding that it amounts to economic "success across the board".

Unions at South Korea's two-largest automakers, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., have already blasted the new agreement for blocking access to the fast-growing US pickup truck market.

Powell 'Carefully Considering' More Frequent Press Conferences
The U.S. central bank is also holding to the outlook it gave in December that it will boost rates three times in total this year. It is the sixth increase since December 2015, when it began raising rates from rock-bottom levels.

Officials in Seoul on Monday had already disclosed much of what the White House described yesterday as the "historic" first-ever renegotiation of any trade agreement with the United States.

The agreements in principle were announced Monday just hours after Trump said the United States was on the verge of amending its trade agreement with South Korea, which took effect in 2012.

Officials said the revised deal widened U.S. access to South Korea's auto market while providing American manufacturers protection from South Korean imports.

The Asian country was the third-largest steel exporter to the USA previous year, after Canada and Brazil.

The US this month began imposing the steel tariffs, saying imports jeopardized US national security.

The U.S. made the same demand in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, only to back down amid opposition from Japan and other countries who feared possible restrictions on currency interventions should there be a drastic shift in exchange rates. Trump said he would turn his attention to crafting bilateral deals.

However, they believe it is an innovative addition to the deal and could be implemented in trade negotiations with other countries.

The United States is likely to pursue similar quota agreements with the other countries including Canada and Mexico, which are now in talks to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement. Korean aluminum producers would still be subject to U.S. President Donald Trump's 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

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