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Jobs, budget bill, Korea, U.S. FTA discussed during President Moon's meeting of chief aides Updated: 2017-07-14 07:28:31 KST

It's the president's first meeting of chief secretaries and aides since his return from a five-day tour to Germany.
Having focused on global diplomacy and international affairs for the past week, President Moon Jae-in recalibrated his focus on pending domestic affairs; first and foremost, jobs.

"The new government placed utmost priority on job creation in efforts to offer hope to the Korean people. It is regrettable that the proposed bill on extra budget for job creation is still pending in the National Assembly."
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The South Korean president's remarks come amid a continued disruption in the opposition-led parliament, mainly over opposition parties' objections to Mr. Moon's latest minister nominations.

"There is no more time to waste. It's time for the government, the parliament, and the ruling and opposition parties to together extend their hands to the Korean people suffering from lack of jobs."

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Also discussed during the weekly meeting was Washington's proposal for a special meeting to start negotiations on possible amendments and modifications to the five-year old Korea, U.S. free trade agreement.

President Moon ordered his aides to prepare for all possible scenarios without any prejudgment.
That's according to multiple senior Blue House officials who were in attendance Thursday morning.

The South Korean leader also specifically made note of the auto sector - which the U.S. is largely expected to focus on - pointing out that exports of Korea-made cars to the U.S. fell during the five years that the KORUS FTA has been in effect while Korea's imports of U.S. cars rose over that period.

The proposal comes in a little less than two weeks since the presidents of South Korea and the U.S. met face to face for the first time in Washington during which President Trump and his team brought up the issue of U.S.-perceived trade imbalance.
To that President Moon had said he was open to discussions and that if deemed necessary, officials from the two countries should together assess the impact of the FTA on each economy.

That stance by the president remains the same as he questioned whether it was truly and solely the current free trade agreement with Korea that's enlarged U.S.' trade deficit.
It's a view echoed by his chief economic aides that the two sides need to first establish whether the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea is caused by the trade deal or is a result of other fundamental economic issues.
Moon Connyoung, Arirang News.
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