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Seoul and Washington jointly announce agreement on amendment to KORUS FTA Updated: 2018-03-29 18:09:11 KST

In a joint statement, Seoul's trade minister Kim Hyun-chong and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the two countries were pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement in principle on the amendment of their bilateral trade deal.
The statement released Wednesday night local time said the agreement addresses issues on investment, tariffs, automobiles, customs and trade remedies.
Seoul has agreed to lift some its safety and environmental regulations, and will allow U.S. automakers to ship Korea up to 50-thousand vehicles each, up from 25-thousand previously.
Tariffs imposed on Korean pickup trucks exported to the U.S will be extended by 20 years to 2041.
South Korea on the other hand, secured revisions to the investor-state dispute settlement clause.
The two sides also agreed to improve the transparency of the trade dispute settlement process, which covers issue like anti-dumping duties.
But as South Korea's trade minister mentioned at a press conference Monday, there is no further opening of Korea's agricultural market or the mandatory use of U.S. auto parts.
The announcement comes less than three months since the first round of trade talks began in January.
In the joint statement, Seoul and Washington said the agreement represents "an important progress in improving Korea-U.S. trade and economic relations, based on their strong and enduring security relationship."
As well as the FTA amendment, there's an agreement on exempting South Korea from the Trump administration's 25-percent steel tariff measures.
In exchange, South Korea's quota will be set at two.six-eight million tons of steel exports a year, or 70 percent of its average annual shipments to the U.S. between 2015 to 2017.
The arrangement with respect to steel products is expected to take effect on May 1st.
Working-level officials are ironing out the details so that Seoul and Washington can finalize their amendments to the six-year-old trade deal soon, which are subject to domestic procedures in both countriesbefore the provisions can be brought into force.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.
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