Moon, Trump face-off

US President Donald Trump will press South Korean President Moon Jae-in to improve trade imbalances with the US during meetings at the White House on Thursday and Friday, a White House official said.

Mr Moon, whose talks with Mr Trump will focus largely on efforts to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, did not directly address Mr Trump’s concerns in a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday evening, emphasising instead an increase in the total volume of bilateral trade.

In an interview with Reuters in April, Mr Trump called the five-year-old US-South Korean trade pact known as KORUS “horrible” and “unacceptable” and said he would either renegotiate or terminate it.

A White House official told reporters Mr Trump would raise concerns about barriers to US auto sales and “the enormous amount of steel that sometimes ends up being surplus Chinese steel that comes to the United States via South Korea”.

The official, however, predicted “a friendly and frank discussion about the trade relationship”.

At the Chamber of Commerce, Mr Moon said under his economic policy, unfair trade practices would be eradicated and factors that limited competition, such as market entry barriers and price regulations, would be “reevaluated.”

He said in spite of a 12 per cent decrease in global trade over the past five years, bilateral trade had risen by this amount.

“The US market share in Korea’s import market has increased and Korea has also seen an increase in its share of the US important market,” he said.

“Expansion of bilateral trade is enriching the daily lives of our peoples.”

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